Former Google employee calls out risk and culture concerns, employees want a company that cares

Plus, a look at the state of internal comms in 2023.

Greetings, comms pros! Let’s take a look at some news stories from this week and see what lessons we can learn from them.

1. Employees still want employers that care

As layoffs at major companies continue to dominate headlines, a recent study fielded ex-Unilver lead Paul Polman found that employees still want to work for companies they feel are doing their part from a social and environmental standpoint.

The survey of 2,000 employees across the U.S. found that 76% of respondents want to work for organizations that actively try to have a positive impact on the world. However, two-thirds of respondents reported that current efforts don’t go far enough.

According to Forbes:

The research, commissioned by former Unilever CEO Paul Polman, also found that more than half of employees said that they would consider resigning from their job if the values demonstrated by their employer did not align with their own. In fact, 35% of respondents said that they had already quit a job for this reason, and the same proportion indicated that they might be willing to tolerate a pay cut to work for a company that shares their values.

“Times have changed and employees no longer want outdated corporate social responsibility initiatives and a lack of action,” said Polman. “Unsatisfied and unmotivated employees recognize the power is in the hands of the CEOs. They want to work for companies which work to tackle the world’s greatest challenges, and they want to play their part,” he added, noting that otherwise “they’ll leave.”

In order to keep the top talent at your organization, you’ll need to do much more than pay employees well and provide them with the proper benefits. They also want to know that you’re making a difference in the world. By consistently, authentically communicating how your organization is being a good corporate partner and really cares, you’ll be able to pull from the best pool of talent both now and going forward.

2. Former Google employee says the organization has lost its way

A former team member at Google that sold his startup to the company claims that the company has become rudderless. While he said he was treated well at the organization, he also claims in a recent blog post that the company is “paralyzed by risk.”

According to CNBC:

Praveen Seshadri joined the Alphabet-owned company at the start of 2020 when Google Cloud acquired AppSheet, which Seshadri co-founded. Seshadri argued it’s a “fragile moment” for Google, particularly because of the recent pressures it is facing to compete with Microsoft’s artificial intelligence initiatives. Seshadri said Google’s problems are not rooted in its technology, but in its culture.

“The way I see it, Google has four core cultural problems,” Seshadri said. “They are all the natural consequences of having a money-printing machine called ‘Ads’ that has kept growing relentlessly every year, hiding all other sins. (1) no mission, (2) no urgency, (3) delusions of exceptionalism, (4) mismanagement.”

Between this post and recent layoffs that weren’t communicated terribly well and made worse by comments from the CEO, Google finds itself at s a cultural crossroads for losing the plot with regard to culture and mission. This presents a cautionary lesson. Be sure to keep culture at the top of your priority list as a communicator and employees, and those organizations with a good sense of this are much less likely to see unfortunate reports like this one emerge.

3. A look at the state of internal comms in 2023

The year is still young, but there are already some lessons to be gleaned from the early months of 2023 on the internal comms front. According to a survey of over 200 communicators by Oak Engage, the top priority for internal communicators was getting the proper message to the correct people at the right time.

In our view, that really does hit all the necessary notes for a great internal comms strategy. You need to know your audience and what they need, and you need to get it to them at the time it has the most impact. It’s encouraging to see that internal communicators know their north star.

In addition, the survey found that poor internal comms can lead to high staff turnover and attrition issues, with respondents tagging this as the number one impact of poor internal comms. If you didn’t know that your work was incredibly impactful, hopefully these numbers can help hammer home how important comms is for organizational functionality.

The study respondents reported cultures of openness and recognition, with organizational leaders setting the tone. If we work in open work cultures, we can be confident that our communications will not only fall upon receptive ears but also be taken and implemented.

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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