TROY, MI: Kmart, seeking to bolster employee morale as it works to emerge from bankruptcy, has started a series of luncheons where workers can chat with senior-level executives.
Julian Day, named president and COO of Kmart in March, held the first such luncheon recently. Day met with eight headquarters staffers, said Mary Lorencz, director of internal communications.
Lorencz plans to hold two luncheons a month, with VPs and above talking with small groups of employees. "We want them to experience that individual, the senior executive, as a real person, she said. "We're scheduling as many of our officers as we can."
The lunches, which last from 45 minutes to an hour, have no set agendas.
Employees are free to ask whatever they like or to make suggestions about company operations, Lorencz said.
Kmart also recently held a special 20%-off sale for employees and their friends and family members - another move to help employee morale.
Lorencz rejoined Kmart recently to head up an expanded employee relations effort (PRWeek, June 17). In addition to the new headquarters luncheons for senior execs and staffers, she's examining other ways to strengthen employee communications. One possibility being looked at is the development of an online newsletter, she said.
Other efforts already underway include a monthly CEO forum, a monthly broadcast by senior managers to all company locations, and regular e-mails to employees regarding news events or further bankruptcy developments.
Lorencz recently hired another staffer to work on internal communications issues.
A 31-year Kmart veteran, Lorencz had taken early retirement in June 2001, but had continued doing PR work for the company on a contract basis.
She returned to a full-time position on June 1 of this year.