Posts Tagged ‘Danielle A. Jones M.A.’

What happens after the storm?

August 26, 2016

So your company has been through some “ish. That’s no surprise, no company becomes great without facing the storm. But when the fan has been cleaned and  the clouds start to clear, its the communicator’s job to help a company deal with what happens after the storm.

My answer is simple: The focus needs to be on the survivors.

No leader with a company that had offices in NYC’s Twin Towers for the attacks of 9/11 focused on anything other than employee health and wellness in the aftermath of the attacks. When the ash clouds covered the city, the focus was on those directly affected and survivor well being. The best leaders know that this focus should never shift – no matter how bad that last round of layoffs was – the people you chose to keep need to be reminded that they = company success. They matter. The company HAS to care.

As companies struggle to deal with the changes of a slumping economies and profits, the focus must be on those staff members who are still at work.

So how do you focus on the survivors? The rainbows that come in the aftermath of Corporate slaughter are generated from the passion and dedication of a workforce that feels cared for. Expressing care is not just in the form of yet another “feel good” email. Leaders must walk the talk. Here are some tips.

My tips:

  • Keep it real:Sugar coating a situation to employees = lying = distrust = demotivated employees. Who wants those around right? Be honest about the state of the company, explain the reasons for cut backs (please ensure they are legal) and employees will be more likely to stay on the bumpy ride with you.
  • Say Thank You: I’ve written a bit on this before. A recognized employee is a motivated employee which means, they’ll likely stay around. Recognition need not always be tied to money. As increasingly generation X & Y prefer flexible work environments and millennials just want time off, consider giving a day off, early dismissal on a Friday etc to recognize staff. Hey, even a hand written thank you card is awesome – who writes anymore right? Whatever you do, say thank you, make it meaningful and tie it to what matters to the employee.
  • One on One 911: A leader I look up to in the energy industry makes time each quarter for one on ones with all staff in his organizational chart. A L L. Over 40 people report to this man indirectly – he meets with everyone from secretary to manager. Why? Time = interest = increased motivation = increased productivity. I have tried this approach and it works. Giving employees the time to speak through their challenges and to again, recognize their achievements one on one definitely bears the fruit of increased productivity. #tryit The August 8 2016 Harvard Business Review wrote a great article on the importance of one on ones and, of course, tips on how to make them happen. 
  • Train to Retain: When financial times are tough, training and travel are one of the first two line items to be removed. My views on this one are very strong. Investing in the capability of your people is some of the best money you will ever spend – just ask the now Amazon effect proof Home Depot whose founder One of the easiest line items to cut is employee training. Not investing in training is a mistake says Bernie Marcus, the billionaire founder of The Home Depot in an Inc 2009 article: “Training sometimes seems like a small thing, but it is actually the first step in empowering people to do their jobs well,” Marcus says. “No matter what an employee’s position was within the company, he or she could make a contribution by being creative or working hard. Training combined with providing employees a sense of belonging and rewarding them for results were the keys to our success.”I’ve left roles when I felt my development was not being given significant attention by the company. Yes, staff development costs is not the sole responsibility of the employer, but indeed, not all development is classroom based either. Mentoring, on the job training, hell, even exposing high performing staff to senior level meetings, etc are all great ways of developing in role. But, employer be ware, if you won’t invest in your people, another company will.

Hopefully these tips will help your company’s survivors. Know of course, that these approaches can’t live on paper or email – you will note, many require actual conversations. Help your leaders through the process by preparing key messages and talking points on your company’s way forward. Then give it a few months for things to get better. And, of course, when they do, send me a thank you for these tips. 🙂



Media Relations – your key to passing crisis 101

February 10, 2014

imageCrisis 101. Regrettably that’s as far as even the most advanced communications professional in the Caribbean gets. Possibly it can be considered fortunate to learn about crisis management only in the classroom but that fortune quickly runs out when your company is thrown under public scrutiny for an accident or incident.

Two years post the Ca (more…)

What do You Learn from Your Mother

July 22, 2010

My Last Full Family Pic

What do you learn from your mother?What communication lessons did our generation learn from the women that nurtured us through the first MacIntosh(es), Ataris, Nitendos, 50 pound PCs, Internet, Laptops and now, IPADS and Blackberries. Lord knows I hoped I would be nothing like my mother right through my early 20s (circa internet boom days) and then a change of heart…she was not that bad. By the time I lost her, I realised she was great. She could text. She checked her email and loved herself some computer Scrabble. I don’t miss her tech savvy – she was a self professed techno retard…I miss her words and life lessons.

Isn’t it Ironic? A wanna be digital native like me (I could be if you shifted the limits for same a year or two) does not miss the techy aspects of my mom. I don’t miss her email messages or the noise of her yelling at the PC as it “cheated” in Scrabble…nah, I miss her words and voice and lessons. I eh makin dat mistake. I documenting what I want them children to  learn before the born!

I’m not a parent yet (and not pregers – lest I start some new rumor) but if I am so blessed, here’s what I hope my children (read child – the dreams of my own 5 a side team have left me) will learn from me:

  1. Speak  Positively – it can make an awful day great. When I am having a bad day, I often give a PR joking answer when those closest to me ask how I am – I say “WONDERFUL” and I flash that pageant chick smile. It engenders a laugh – usually from the listener and from me…BOOM! At that second, I create a moment of joy in a lacklustre day. So, I hope my children will learn, as my mother taught me, to try to at least speak negatively. Or, to  *gasp* approach each moment with positivity and prayer.
  2. Love with Your Whole Heart. Frank Sinatra says “When somebody loves you, its no good unless they love you, ALL THE WAY”. Mom used to sing that. I now have it in my Ipod and more importantly in my heart. Love unselfishly and wholeheartedly. As language defines your world, say it to the people you love – daily. Love is pointless if not expressed. The world without loving expressions can be desolate.
  3. Work Hard but Vacation Hard too. When this earth lost Denise Maureen, she dreamed of taking a cruise. She never did. Instead she had over a year (yes a year!) of unused vacation. Hmmm…. So, I am an advocate of taking vacation and seeing the world and telling the world about it through pictures and *gasp* postcards. I’m a sucker for a post card! I buy them on almost every trip and those fortunate enough to have received them have a snapshot of what I felt at the moment I bought it. My mother framed her postcards. What an incredible legacy of communication. Vacation does not have to mean a visit to Japan (though I highly recommend same). The best vacations are with family or those most special to you – sometimes just spending nothing but time is the best gift of all.
  4. Words can Hurt and Heal: Only the most acrimonious (dictionary!) amongst us would deny the power of the words “It will be alright” when you are going through a challenging time. Few is the man who can say the sting from harsh words spoken in anger does not outlast the pain from a surface wound. Denise Maureen Jones, I regret any words that hurt. If your parent or child is alive, take a moment to communicate that and to pledge to not use words as weapons anymore.

I hope my children will learn these lessons passed down to me from the angel that is my mother, through not just the spoken word, but through actions of love that reinforced the messages. May our generation, with all our technology and doo das, do half as a great a job as our parents did at raising us.

Nurturing generation Y and Z will require less technology and more good old face to face communication with a sprinkling of oral tradition.


Y Tweet? Read Here

April 16, 2010

The social media world changed yesterday. Well mine did. In a post about digital footprints and tips for managing same I struck a chord with people. How do I know? I gained 14 followers on Twitter. Ok so the number isn’t that big compared to Ashton and Ellen but hey, for a small island girl like me – it was big. And then I asked – why is Twitter so powerful?

Because it connects us to what we’re interested in. Facebook is your whole life – Twitter is just what you’re thinking/reading/ doing RIGHT NOW. For PR professionals, Twitter is a gold mine of research, opinions, links to articles and schools and classes and events…I dare say you can learn as much from tweeting as you can in one month of PR 101. How?

Its all in who you follow. While who follows you is good for the ego and for killing the need for a personal PR rep, who you follow is genuinely good for you. Examples?

  • By following IABC I found out about a student conference and referred it to a young PR professional that was following me (connection).
  • By following TriniGuardian I was among the first to learn the date of the next national election.
  • By following Steverubel (SVP/Director of Insights for Edelman Digital, AdAge and Forbes columnist and avid sports fan) I learned how big Twitter is (180 million unique visitors to  and that Nielsen Online found that 73 percent engaged in social media at least once per week.
  • By following Googletech (which happened when I started this blog) I learned there are others that believe (as I do) that internet is more important than TV in daily life. I retweeted (RT) that to all my followers

So why did I grow? Well, I RT the articles and information that was interesting and people RT my link to this blog. People clicked on either the blog link or my twitter name @danijones98 and found me interesting – then they added me. Ok so 14 isn’t a big number – but of the 14 only 2 are from Trinidad – so there! My social media world expanded, I have Tweeps in other parts of the world. Ok…sooo?!

SOOOO! I have a global audience thanks to Twitter. A Global audience I probably will never meet face to face but will connect with daily and learn from. How’s that for a change you can believe in. Let me be among the first to say “Twitterversity” may soon be as important as university…though, in the Caribbean we still have a way to go.

So tell me – why do YOU Tweet?