Hatfield Quality Meats offers lessons in dealing clearly and directly with a diverse workforce
Eric Haman thought the best way to upgrade the internal communications at his company was to revamp the intranet and install kiosks in high-traffic areas.
It might have been, except at his company—Hatfield Quality Meats—80 percent of the employees work in production and didn’t use the intranet kiosks. Although the 400 office workers read the news posted on the intranet, the 1,500 factory workers never logged on.
So Haman, Hatfield’s corporate communications manager, shifted strategies. He now uses posters, paycheck attachments, face-to-face meetings, and flat-screen TVs to bring his messages to the workforce.
Unfortunately, underused intranet kiosks weren’t the only problem that Hatfield communicators needed to overcome. They had to deal with a front office that feared communications could hurt productivity; a nonstop production line; and a large number of employees who didn’t speak much English.
Let’s look at the various problems and Hatfield’s solutions:
Problem: Management sees communication as a distraction