Substantial restructuring, involving the closure of a major facility and possible job losses, can result in significant corporate brand damage. When Croxley decided the only sustainable way forward was to close its Papakura operations, and with a powerful union likely to bring media attention to the issue, the company enlisted Wright Communications to assist with high-level counsel, and an all-encompassing strategy. This needed to include all staff, unions and other stakeholders, the media and general public.
The Wright approach
It is vitally important for any company involved in restructuring to carry out exemplar stakeholder communications, both to demonstrate its commitment to staff, to limit reputational damage, and to meet its legal obligations. Wright Communications identified key risks and mitigation, and set out best-practise engagement throughout the many months this process would take. The objectives were to protect and enhance Croxley's perception as a responsible, reputable and generous employer; and establish and maintain perspective of Croxley's business rationale for consolidation - to remain competitive as a New Zealand-based manufacturer. The solution included effective media management, and clear, concise direct communication to all staff, suppliers and customers, the unions involved, and other stakeholders such as the local council.
Though negative headlines were inevitable, effective and timely media relations ensured Croxley was able to provide balance to stories. Well-compiled and timed internal communications resulted Croxley's reputation as a responsible New Zealand employer and manufacturer being maintained during what was inevitably an emotional time for many.