The division will be co-led by Nick Howard, director in London, and Christopher Hannegan, executive vice-president in Chicago, both of whom are being promoted to practice chair roles for the EMEA region and the US respectively.
Edelman said that the business would focus on helping brands to establish three meaningful, trust-building connections – connecting employees with the company, connecting employees with each other and connecting employees with the outside world.
‘Through these connections, organisations can deepen engagement, increase trust and positively impact their business and reputation,’ an Edelman statement said.
Howard told PRWeek that Edelman was responding to demand from clients, noting employee engagement ‘was higher than ever’ on the companies' agendas following the global economic slowdown.
‘For years organisations and PR agencies have put all their emphasis on external comms,’ Howard said. ‘They haven’t taken advantage of the resource their own employees represent, who can be their most passionate advocates as well as harshest critics.’
He explained that the results from Edelman’s 2012 Trust Barometer helped guide the agency’s decision to invest in the practice. The study revealed that 50 per cent of respondents view regular employees as credible sources of information about their company (up 16 points from 2011) and that employees were trusted more as a source of information about a brand than CEOs.
The agency has four dedicated centres of employee engagement excellence in Chicago, London, Los Angeles and New York, and the ability to work from each of the company’s 63 offices worldwide.