Twitter’s new CEO takes the reins, Insurance CEO receives major backlash after return to office mandate

Plus, how to keep employees motivated with things other than money.

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

1 . Twitter’s new chief takes over

Elon Musk’s time at Twitter is over. Former NBCU exec Linda Yaccarino is officially the new CEO of the social platform.

According to CBS News:

“It happened – first day in the books!,” Yaccarino tweeted late Monday. “Stay tuned…”

A day earlier, Yaccarino had tweeted that Twitter had hired Joe Benarroch, NBCU’s former senior vice president of communications for advertising and partnerships, to join her at the company. Benarroch will work in business operations, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Musk announced in May that Yaccarino, formerly chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCU, would be taking over as CEO of Twitter with a focus on business operations, after months of suggesting that he planned to find a new top leader for the struggling platform.

It’ll be worth watching what Yaccarino’s leadership does to change the platform’s ability to communicate with its employees, users, journalists and other stakeholders. We’ve written quite a bit in this very column about Musk’s “unique” style of communication and management and how it’s impacted the perception of Twitter as a whole.

Will things change under new leadership in the short term? It’s too early to tell. But having people who value communications as a business function are a great start towards a positive shift in culture and perception.

2. CEO of Farmers Group receives major pushback over return-to-office decree

There’s a lot to be said about working from home. It’s been shown to have benefits for mental health, and it allows people to attend to things in their personal lives an office job wouldn’t account for. With increasing calls from organizations for their employees to return to the office, there’s also rising backlash against such mandates. Farmers Group’s new CEO Raul Vargas found that out for himself recently after revising the organization’s remote work policy.

According to Insider:

Workers at the insurance giant Farmers Group are reportedly threatening to quit or unionize after the company’s new CEO backtracked on its remote-work policy.

Employees expressed their frustrations with the decision by flooding a Farmers Group internal social-media platform with more than 2,000 comments.

“I sold my house and moved closer to my grandkids,” another worker’s comment read, according to the Wall Street Journal. “So sad that I made a huge financial decision based on a lie.”

A classic case of what not to do when you start a new job! If Farmers established a policy about remote work in place, the decisions and choices its employees made as a result should be considered — and certainly acknowledged when the policy changes.

Are there benefits to having people in an office? Sure! But when employees are given an understanding of what their work situation is and it’s taken out from under them, there’s bound to be backlash. Open lines of communication, including pulse surveys and timely manager comms, could have solved this issue before it got to this point.

3. How to motivate your employees beyond compensation

It’s obvious that employees want to be well compensated for the jobs they perform. But how else can you work to keep your employees engaged and motivated beyond increasing their salary?

Create conditions for self-fulfillment.

According to SHRM:

“Unlimited growth potential isn’t required in most situations when trying to retain top performers who otherwise feel connected to their work and are fully engaged,” said Rob Hall, senior vice president of global human resources at Avita Medical in Valencia, Calif.  “In other words, when people experience self-fulfillment in their contribution levels, their relationship with their boss and the positive difference they believe they make every day, compensation plays less of a role in that individual’s overall assessment of their work situation.”

Hall further explained that “compensation and vertical promotions may be very legitimate motivators under certain circumstances, but you have to see past that initial excuse to examine whether the real, underlying reason for an employee’s departure has to do with the relationship with their boss. Likewise, workers may feel like they’re treading water career-wise, doing the same work they’ve been doing for years with little opportunity for growth, challenge or professional development, which also leads to regrettable turnover.”

If it wasn’t already crystal clear—the relationships your employees have at work impact their satisfaction with the job. Cultivating a positive culture is one of the best ways to keep your team members motivated, and content to grow with your organization. The communicators who seek to get to know their teams, encourage teams to get to know each other, and share their stories to help foster a culture of trust will boost satisfaction and retention while emphasizing strong core communications values.

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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