bruceberger_55198_55200Information for this post was adapted with permission from PR News’ Employee Communications Guidebook, Vol. 4. Copies are available digitally and in print at

Effective public relations begins with excellent employee communications.

However, with the distressingly low levels of trust among the new generation of digitally savvy workers who seek more involvement in decision-making, faster and more personal communications, and greater transparency, it can be difficult to achieve this excellence.

To help deal with this complex challenge, you can visit the Institute for Public Relations’ Organizational Communication Research Center (OCRC) to learn from some heavy duty research – what works, what doesn’t, what drives engagement and so forth. The rich new resource for communication professionals is an easily accessible and growing database addressing more than 30 topics in the field. Each article is summarized in 300 words and includes implications for practice.

The OCRC is a comprehensive source for research, best practices, blogs and white papers regarding employee engagement, trust, alignment, branding and other crucial issues in the field.

For instance, just click on the employee engagement topic on the OCRC site and a number of research articles appear – including a study by Robinson, Perryman and Hayday (2004) that involved more than 10,000 employees and documented 10 drivers that are crucial to employees “feeling valued and involved,” which are at the heart of engagement.

Or, if you’re seeking advice from leading global communicators, you can look at the IPR Commission on Organizational Communication’s 2013 research report, “Best-In-Class Practices in Employee Communication: Through the Lens of 10 Global Leaders.” The study offers the results of in-depth interviews with communication leaders at Cargill, Chevron, FedEx, GE, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Navistar, Petrobras and Toyota.

The OCRC is a valuable and expanding resource for professional communicators to consult as they plan and strategize employee communication issues. Check it out and share your own ideas, because it’s also a space for conversation among professionals and academics.


Bruce K. Berger, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus, Department of Advertising & Public Relations at the University of Alabama.

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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2 thoughts on “Using Research is Key for Solving Employee Communication Problems

  1. Toni, thank you for sharing these sites and organizations. I am familiar with Engage for Success in the UK and have connected with several individuals there. The Italian organization is new for me, but I will explore the site. Cheers. .

  2. dr. Berger your post is timely.
    I would also add for those colleagues and scholars who are interested in this subject that there are at least two dedicated european online movements that have significant research, cases, data and opinions.
    The first is the british vased www,engagefor and is obviously in the english language.
    The second is the italian based, yes in italian (not very helpful for english speaking readers…). However the data base accessible also through the cloud has mostly english materials….

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