Wall Street ranks staff relations dead last

NEW YORK: PR firms can make all the noise they want about the importance of employee communications, but Wall Street still isn’t listening.

NEW YORK: PR firms can make all the noise they want about the importance of employee communications, but Wall Street still isn’t listening.

NEW YORK: PR firms can make all the noise they want about the

importance of employee communications, but Wall Street still isn’t

listening.



That was the main finding of a recent survey of 141 financial analysts

in the telecom space by NY-based CDB Research & Consulting.



The survey was part of CDB’s Hidden Value study, launched in 1995, which

ranks companies in the telecom and utilities industries by measuring

non-financial attributes. This year, the study was expanded to include a

ranking of the attributes themselves, according to VP Ann Middleman.



The financial analysts ranked nine non-financial attributes that impact

their evaluation of telecom firms, and ’concern for and relations with

employees’ finished dead last. Not surprisingly, the ability to increase

revenue, reduce costs and maintain customer loyalty were first and

foremost in analysts’ minds.



Middleman was not surprised by the findings, nor were industry observers

- regardless of the current trend of PR firms, including Ogilvy,

Golin/Harris and Ketchum, ramping up internal communications practices.

’The ability to increase revenues comes out on top no matter what,’

Middleman said. Added AT&T senior PR director Burke Stinson, ’I’m not

surprised that hard-nosed Wall Street analysts would see little value

here.’



Stinson, who previously wrote and edited internal publications at AT&T,

believes much employee-communications activity is frivolous. ’At the

risk of sounding like a heretic, too much self-importance has emanated

from employee communications. I haven’t held that discipline in high

regard.’



When asked if employee communications contributes to higher-ranking

attributes like customer loyalty and productivity, Middleman admitted

that ’traces’ of employee satisfaction can be found in the other

attributes.



But Gary Grates, president of GCI BoxenbaumGrates, thinks that it’s more

than a trace. ’I would look at the other attributes as important, and

say you need quality communications to achieve them.’



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