H&K adds internal PR-labor position

TAMPA: Wall Street may not believe good - or bad - employee communications contribute to a company's bottom line, but that hasn't stopped PR agencies from ramping up their internal communications operations.

TAMPA: Wall Street may not believe good - or bad - employee communications contribute to a company's bottom line, but that hasn't stopped PR agencies from ramping up their internal communications operations.

Hill & Knowlton last week continues to add key personnel, hiring Tom Harmening as a managing director specializing in employee and labor communications.

Harmening previously oversaw internal communications programs for several major companies, including the Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Harlan Teller, executive managing director of H&K's US corporate communications practice, contended that employee and labor communications will increase in importance, pointing to new opportunities in sectors often crippled by labor strife. ?One of the things that attracted us to Tom was his hands-on experience in three different industries - rail, gas, and electricity - that are undergoing significant change due to deregulation.?

Harmening believes this past experience has rendered him capable of not just communicating with employees, but connecting with them. ?Employees in today's competitive environment don't just want to be heard,? he said.

?They want to have a candid dialogue with management.?

While Harmening will work from H&K's Tampa outpost to develop the growing Florida market, he will also be on call to provide expertise on labor and employee communications throughout the H&K network.

He said that consolidation can place great strain on employees and impact the company's ability to operate efficiently. Harmening added that regular communication is ?often the missing link in the chain.?

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