Just as much as public relations counsel enhances external communications, the best PR firms also help clients with internal communications. Large enterprises can forget the thought and care required in producing mundane materials such as employee handbooks, newsletters, and company-wide announcements. Not only should sensitivities of the target audience of employees be kept in mind, but as the entire world has noticed, one should always assume that such communications will be leaked … and cause significant embarrassment.
Today’s offender is UBS, the global financial firm based in Switzerland. The new UBS 43-page dress code was leaked to the press and paints the organization in an extremely unflattering light. Among the UBS dress code requirements are:
• Compulsory scarves with authorized knots;
• No eating onions (this is a dress-related item?!?);
Defensive and hostile communications like this dress code only serve to offend the workforce, doing more harm than good to the business bottom line.
Now of course, it’s really no one’s business how shiny UBS wants employee shoes to be, so from the PR standpoint there’s no need to defend the dress code. Still, the flip-side to that point is that UBS shouldn’t go to pains to justify specific aspects of the dress code, such as stating that the manual is “in line with Swiss precision” – such quotes truly miss the Alpine forest for the trees.