Intel explains CEO pay cut, Maryland bill subsidizes organizations that try out a four-day workweek

Plus, how to celebrate Black History Month in a meaningful fashion.

Greetings comms pros! Let’s take a look at a few stories from the past week and see what lessons we can learn from them.

1. How to celebrate Black History Month in a more meaningful fashion

February is Black History Month, and across the country, organizations will mark not only the historical achievements of African Americans that helped make our country what it is, but they’ll also document and promote the events and individuals they’re celebrating at their companies too. But there are some things to keep in mind when your organization is thinking about how to communicate with regard to Black History Month.

According to Forbes:

Black History Month can be about history, and it can also be about how the present stands on the shoulders of the past. Use this opportunity to celebrate your staff and their accomplishments and not just the feats of historical figures. One central element of Black culture is the reliance on our ancestors for strength and learning, so ground your celebrations in the past, but don’t shy away from elevating current examples near and far.

In addition to celebrating current staff, the piece also recommends that you center your DEI strategy for the month around the celebration, and remind employees that celebrating black history is a year-round event. As comms pros, we don’t just need to communicate that black history is important to the organization — we need to show that we mean it. That can mean donating to black-owned businesses, attending cultural events, and much more.

2. Intel CEO takes pay cuts as economic outlook continues to look uncertain

With layoffs and reshuffling happening all around the tech sector due to the impacts of the economy, some top executives are taking cuts to their pay. Intel will cut pay by up to 5% for mid-level employees and 25% for CEO Pat Gelsinger, while not cutting pay at all for the company’s hourly workers.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“As we continue to navigate macro-economic headwinds and work to reduce costs across the company, we’ve made several adjustments to our 2023 employee compensation and rewards programs. These changes are designed to impact our executive population more significantly and will help support the investments and overall workforce needed to accelerate our transformation and achieve our long-term strategy,” the company said.

So what can we glean from this? First, while it’s not totally surprising to see what intel did by scaling the percentage of their pay cuts up the ladder to the c-suite, it’s certainly encouraging to see that the company didn’t cut jobs for hourly employees who hep Intel create their products.

As communicators, we need to know that employees are the lifeblood of any organization, regardless of where they are on the ladder, and we need to show them they’re valued. When highly compensated leaders take a cut to help the overall health of the business, it can help boost morale up and down.

3. Maryland legislation incentivizes organizations to try four-day workweeks

Have you ever wanted to work four days a week instead of five, getting a jumpstart on your weekend? If a piece of Maryland legislation goes through and you live in that state, there’s a chance you might just get your wish.

According to CNN:

In a first-of-its-kind proposal in the United States, some Maryland lawmakers want to subsidize employers that choose to experiment with a 4-day workweek.

More precisely, it would subsidize employers that agree to try out a 32-hour workweek without reducing their full-time employees’ weekly pay, which is based on 40 hours of work.

“The pandemic has taught us that how we view work is not set in stone but it’s something that we as citizens can control,” said Maryland Delegate Vaughn Stewart, one of the bill’s lead sponsors.

The report went on to state that employers that participate would have some flexibility in how their employees put together their shorter work week. Some might choose to do five shorter days a week, with others preferring four eight-hour days.

We’ve talked about the four-day week quite a bit here at Ragan, touting the benefits for both employers and employees. It’ll be interesting to see if this potential program is a harbinger of things to come in other states and if these sorts of initiatives will build momentum towards a more permanent four-day week of work.

4.  How about some good news?

Have a great weekend comms all-stars!

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.

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