Paramount emphasizes employee focus in strategic plan, Adobe employees call out AI policy

Plus, a study shows alarming levels of employee engagement.

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

1 . Paramount tells employees focus is back on strategic plan after Skydance negotiations

It’s been an interesting three months at Paramount — between a major leadership shakeup and a potential sale, there’s been quite a bit of uncertainty for the entertainment brand. But following news that negotiations with Skydance Media had broken off, Paramount’s brass decided to address the company’s employees directly. In a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount co-CEOs Chris McCarthy, George Cheeks and Brian Robbins emphasized focus on the company’s strategic plan and what it meant for employees.

Work is already underway, as we focus on three pillars:

  • Transforming our streaming strategy to accelerate its path to profitability
  • Streamlining the organization and reducing non-content costs
  • Optimizing our asset mix, by divesting some of our businesses to help pay down our debt

As we advance each of these initiatives, we will continue to prioritize investment in our world class franchises, films, series and sports, which are the core of our business.

Importantly, we want to thank you for your hard work and your continued focus. We recognize that the last several months have not been easy as we manage through ongoing change and speculation. And, we should all expect some of this to undoubtedly continue as the media industry and our business continue to evolve.

This memo underscores how, in times of upheaval and change, context and transparency can be the north star. Paramount’s recognition of this tactic, and its willingness to share the next steps with employees amid a potentially major shift like a sale, are ultimately a sliver of stability during rapid change. Sharing as much as you can with your employees, even in tough or unclear times, helps keep culture intact.

2. Adobe employees criticize the company over AI stance

After teasing a potential terms of service update that could have opened the door to training AI on user creations, Adobe clarified what it can and cannot do with its customers’ work. In an interview with The Verge, Adobe’s president of digital media David Wadhwani said, “We have never trained generative AI on our customer’s content, we have never taken ownership of a customer’s work, and we have never allowed access to customer content beyond what’s legally required.”

But it seems employees are not pleased about Adobe’s comms on the issue — there’s been significant backlash.

According to Business Insider, screenshots of an internal Slack channel at Adobe showed employees complaining about the company’s response to the issue and decrying the lack of a clear comms plan.

“If our goal is truly to prioritize our users’ best interests (which, to be honest, I sometimes question), it’s astonishing how poor our communication can be,” one of the people wrote in Slack. “The general perception is: Adobe is an evil company that will do whatever it takes to F its users.”

“Let’s avoid becoming like IBM, which seems to be surviving primarily due to its entrenched market position and legacy systems,” this Adobe employee added.

When employees call out how bad your comms are, it’s well past time to reevaluate your approach. A proper mixternal strategy takes both the reactions of the outside world and your employee base into account, and it appears as if Adobe focused a bit too much on the short-term news externally and not the longer-term impacts on its employees. By mapping out comms strategies and engaging in tabletop exercises for rollouts of new features that might produce negative reactions, communicators can be prepared and roll with the punches accordingly.

3. High levels of dissatisfaction at work leading to quiet quitting

We’ve written a few times here at Ragan about quiet quitting and how to stem the issues that cause it. But a recent study from Gallup shows that quiet quitting is still rampant, and it’s far more prevalent than previously anticipated in some places.

According to the Gallup State of the Global Workplace Report, only 10% of employees in the UK stated that they were engaged with their roles. This means 90% of employees in the same market are more detached, at risk of attrition and potentially searching for new roles.

That’s a staggering number, no doubt about it. But it doesn’t mean that nothing can be done. Organizations need to audit employee engagement campaigns more than ever to find out what’s not working — whether that’s revising your advocacy and internal content strategies, ramping up learning and development initiatives, or changing the way that leadership listens and acts on what they hear.  Your employees are your greatest resource as an organization. Keep them engaged, or they might slip into a dissatisfied mindset and seek out greener pastures.

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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