With the dramatic turn of events after the industrial court ordered Kenya Airways management to reinstate some 447 employees it sacked in September through its rationalisation programme, it is indeed an eye opener. I have been fathoming on the role Public Relations should play in employee relations.
The wave of downsizing and layoffs that have been dominating businesses and different industries worldwide after the high tech bubble burst in the early years of the 21st century has taken its toll on employee loyalty. Many employees especially the Y-generation no longer commit to their workplaces because they know that one day some board decision will be made for them to be fired so that the company can cut down on its expenses.
While globalisation has been viewed as a noble step in company’s growth because of the mergers of geographically dispersed organisations there is need to focus more on internal communications so as to bridge the gap between the sparsely distributed employees who need to feel that they belong to a larger global family.
From a PR perspective, companies must sustain - or even expand - efforts to engage workers through proactive, two-way communication and progressive employee programs and policies. As companies reduce their workforces, the focus must simply shift from hiring new people to retaining key players and ensuring they're productive.
For Kenya Airways, they should expand their focus on employees and seek to keep their top performers by promoting progressive, worker-friendly programs and policies before embarking on an elaborate and planned strategy on how they will downsize. Globally many organisations have undergone this process to improve efficiency.
YoungPRSpeak Well, HR practitioners must now work closely with their PR teams to better their relations with the employees. When your employees are happy, your customers will be happy too. When going out to shop, many of us look for the stores that have a reputation of treating their employees well. A customer goes into that business and knows that they, too, will be treated better.