How HR and comms get along at Walgreens

A look at how the two divisions focus on their commonalities and work together.

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A look at how the two divisions work together and focus on their commonalities

Talk to a corporate communicator and a human resources professional, and you will find that, although they convey the same news, they often speak different languages.

HR likes to cover itself. Corporate comms wants to be upfront. Sometimes those two goals clash.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. At Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore, the two divisions learned to work together and focus on their commonalities rather than their differences, says Laurie Meyer, divisional vice president of corporate communications for the 225,000-employee company.

It’s critical for internal comms to push back when they feel they are being asked to put the dreaded “positive spin” on bad news, Meyer said. She and her team make a practice of examining what HR is selling.

“We call it the ‘Crap-O-Meter,’” she said, laughing.

When, for example, health coverage costs rise and benefits shrink, Meyer said her team will explain why and what is behind the news. They won’t hide the information.

“We respect people’s intelligence,” she added.

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