These past few days, one company has been topping the headlines due to some problems with its employees. Employees’ resignations. Employees’ protests. And these got me concerned more than before.
Yes, it is Philippine Airlines. And it pains me to see the first ever company that made me feel what corporate life is all about is undergoing such issues.
I did my internship in Philippine Airlines in summer this year. I was assigned to the Advertising and Promotions division under the Commercial Group. It was there when I first learned how was it to go to the office rushing before the clock strikes 8 in the morning, dress up in stockings and high heels, use lunch time for something worthwhile, and anticipating for the last hour of work. It was there when I first learned how to build relationships with other employees and co-trainees. It was there when I first realized that a President’s office is really huge and worth-craving for. It was my first workplace.
Headlines say that cabin crew of PAL- pilots, flight attendants, and others- are resigning from their posts. In fact, the resignation of 25 pilots caused some alterations on the flight schedule of some passengers. Whether their resignation is legal or adhering to their contracts, I don’t know. But the company for sure is about to lose more and more experienced and knowledgeable workforce if it will fail to address their employees’ concerns.
In my limited stay in the company, I somehow felt what the pilots and flight attendants are accusing PAL to have been falling short of. They say they don’t value employees in such a way that the management fails to give them the right amount of salary they should have as well as the holiday and rest days they deserve. Okay, as a trainee, I am not entitled to those work conditions but I felt like the management is a world away. In my observation, there are limited avenues in which the management keeps in touch with the employees.
The Possible Effect of Intranet Overhaul
During free time in my practicum(or when there is nothing to do), I read PAL Infoserve, the company’s intranet. It serves as a bulletin where announcements are posted, and where PDF files of these can be downloaded to be exact. There are also some advisories and other articles posted by Human Resources as pieces of advice to employees. But then, I noticed that this intranet of theirs is linear and definitely a top-down communication. Some employees don’t even take a serious look on what the intranet says. I think it apparently lacks engagement from the employees that social media have now.
What if their Intranet works two-way? What if it has forums or discussion boards where employees can discuss their grievances or better yet, with the management itself? Can overhauling their Intranet provide an answer for better dialogue between the management and employees?
I think it will. Aside from being a source of feedback, the management can utilize the Intranet for establishing solid employee relations? They can even make loyal employees that way and avoid high rate of turnovers. Communication among PAL employees from offices worldwide can be made possible. Employees will feel that they are valued and taken care of.
Employees as Stakeholders
I think above any other stakeholder, an organization should prioritize employees. I think messing up with them is a no-no. First, employees are the company’s workforce. No employees, no operations, no company. Bad employee relations could solely dictate an organization’s effectiveness and efficiency. Second, employees are definitely brand ambassadors. Their loyalty and faith in the company will translate to them ‘evangelizing’ the company itself to customers and perspective consumers alike. They are a instant source of people who will give highly-credible testimonials that will benefit the company’s reputation as a whole.
Now I am convinced that social media could be enough to resuscitate an organization. It can be even said that social media is an organization’s oxygen in the present age. And I did not thought of this before; social media can make things critical for an organization or become its panacea.
Whoah. Wow. Whoah.
We could not keep ourselves from saying these (and repeat them) in class as our professor ‘revealed’ some new social media sites we haven’t known or heard before. Our Communication Trends and Styles (OrCom 152) class has never been this interesting, I can say. It was like being able to explore a secret passage in a deep excavation beyond expectation. Perhaps, we have never thought social media are actually beyond tweets, likes, posts, or comments.
Of all what our professor, Sir Barry, showed our class, the efficiency that the Internet gives a person to organize various social media sites while monitoring every update connected to an organization, celebrity, product, or anything there is impacted me the most. The core of our lesson today was how important image and reputation are to organizations and how new social media impact these nowadays. I usually fail to remember that aside from pleasing target markets and doing PR, organizations should prioritize crafting tactics on how to take over their competitors given the relay of tons of information. Information should be designed to engage to customers in one hand and to provide a defense against competitors in the other.
But then, the bigger issue here becomes how are organizations able to manage image and reputation in one hand and security in the other as they stand atop of social media?
Glass- House Dangers
Ramo says that every nation now, in the context of globalization, is like glass house that is open for other nations to take surveillance on. This is the norm now, for if a nation has to shut itself from globalization, it opts to suffer.
“If your country is open and democratic, then my open and democratic country can see what you are thinking. You can see what we are thinking.”
Similarly, I realized from today’s class that taking good care of your image and reputation entails comparing yourself with others. The sense is like “there is no such thing as good of there is no bad”. Moreover, in the business setting, every business should be ‘good’ all the time. This now implies segregating what should be in the limelight and what should be kept hidden.
There should be no walls anymore that organizations build to protect themselves from their external environment but instead have strategies that will make them protected while giving out more information.
Monitoring your competitors online seems to be an exciting task actually. It’s more interesting because of the fact that the Net is borderless unlike national war zones. Online battlefield is what the Internet is all about for organizations. Information war is now taken into a higher level where catapults, armies, and shields all comprise an organizational image.
Organization X can track all the information they need to have about their competitors and their competitors can do the same. But then, is this scenario gives an organization more of a benefit or more of a threat?
“Positive transparency means more clarity should mean more stability.”
The idea of positive transparency among nation-states is also applicable to organizations. The more information people has about you, the more they get to know you. The more you disclose honest and genuine information, the more likely you can gain public’s trust. The more people trust you, the more you can earn your way to ‘stability’ as an organization.
But then, nothing works one way. Everything surely has its counterpart.
The existence of “negative transparency” is also discussed in the book. Transparency makes one nervous and realize that there is nothing to be complacent about in return. Ramo explicates this:
If your neighbor’s house was transparent and you could watch him polishing his gun collection, would this make you feel nervous or less? What if you just watched him while he watched you?
Information battle makes one, or an organization, alert and prepared than ever at the very least. This is another thing organizations should prioritize: how to be ready at all times given that environmental uncertainties abound. An organization must keep an observing eye to its surroundings and watch its competitors’ every move without being too anxious on their part.
Disclosing too little information in social media is detrimental nowadays for organizations as well giving out too much. How the battle will be won over relies on how companies develop strategies on how they can deliver just the right amount of information to its public, allow customers to be brand ambassadors themselves and let the web pages and blogs do the talking for them. To thrive as an organization may mean being Machiavellian of some sort but keeping the organization’s values intact and adhering to corporate ethical principles will surely lead organizations as glass houses the security they long to have.
Join me in exploring the exciting world of communication, new social media, and organizations! Oops, this introduction is dull. Let me try again. Here goes:
It has been three years when I have first found myself confused on what major to take in college. The hardest question I ever encountered in my 4th year in high school was not about Trigonometrical Functions, a Thermodynamic law, or a case study in Economics. It was about what do I want to be in the future.
I can vividly remember this seminar of ours about choosing careers. The facilitator asked us, one by one, on what our dream job is. I actually had nothing concrete to say to him that time, but I just said, “I want to be an interpreter”. “So you must be a linguist!”, he replied.
Too bad for me, I did not qualify for a degree program directly related to languages or linguistics. But too good for me, I landed in a degree program I never realized would open countless career opportunities that I had never thought of before. This degree program I am talking about comes in the words of ‘Organizational Communication (OrCom)’. Perhaps, what you are thinking can be summarized in one word: ‘Huh?’.
I am now in my 4th year and I am proud that I do not regret taking up the course-and staying with it. Some of the blockmates I am close with in 1st year have already shifted to other courses, have been pursuing their own ‘callings’. As I write this entry and take a glimpse from the past, I am proud to be where I am now.
I would like to summarize here my journey being an OrCom student but it seems like everything could not be put to words. I am an OrCom student- and I am making a blog for our Organizational Communication 152 class (Communication Trends and Styles). This may include blog posts required of me to write, articles I have to analyze, comments that I need to make. But above all, all of these encapsulate my whole OrCom being.
I do not forget that I still want to be an interpreter, but being an OrCom professional is another dream I have added in my list.
Isn’t it more fun to explore a field of study when you have the heart for it?
After a hundred times of thinking through what name this blog should have, of searching over and over again themes WordPress could ever have- and replacing each one with another I have found to be better- and of conceptualizing what should be the content of this blog’s first ever entry, I am proud to declare, yes I am declaring, that I am able to win over the battling brain cells on the two sides of my brain. My blog has now come to existence and I have proven to be an effective mediator in this regard.
And so, welcome to my first ever blog! 🙂