Public Relations and the Departments of Human Resources


 There are potential areas of cooperation and conflict between these fields:

  • Structural reorganization. The Department of Human Resources has an evident role regarding the contracts and duties, when fusion, dismissing, acquisitions and reorganizations are made. The communication aspects of these matters, including how to communicate with the employees and the external stakeholders, should normally imply the Public Relations survey.
  • Internal communication. The control of the communication with the employees and the division between what is by right communicated by Human Resources and Public Relations are areas for possible debates.
  • Relations with community. This may imply the communication with the employees who are in the local community and also with the potential employees and again it requires a careful distribution of the responsibility for communication.

It is important that each field should mutually recognize the survey and the contribution they have. I also think that in the departments of Human Resources there should be at least one person with knowledge (not necessarily a specialist, because I am aware of the costs it implies) of Public Relations. It is vital to have a constant, honest and on both own will dialogue in order to serve in the best way the interests of the organization.

 By Raluca Filip

Differences between Public Relations and other Fields of Activity



Marketing is the field that in the majority of the cases is mingled with Public Relations, but it means the process of management responsible for the identification, anticipation and satisfaction of the consumers’ demand in a profitable way.

Publicity presents the message of selling in the most persuasive possible way, in a favourable perspective for the product or service, at the lowest possible cost.

Public Relations aim not at raising the sells but at raising understanding. Of course, sometimes these notions are related but Public Relations do not claim a direct causal relation.

Any discussion about Public Relations and their role in organizations, inevitably requires the question: “What is an organization?” – the answer to this question helps discovering the main nature of communication also as a consequence of the strategic impact that Public Relations may have. The organization is a set of components (or subsystems) that have an impact on one another and together interact with the environment of the organization. So the welfare of an organization depends on establishing and maintaining the relations with itself and with the environment. It must adjust and adapt to the inner and outer changes.

Public Relations professionals use the same techniques as the ones available for the ones building strategies (e.g. PEST, SWOT analysis etc.) for “environment scanning”. They also gather information about the stakeholders of the organization.

For a better understanding of Public Relations I suggest an amusing comparison. Therefore if a boy tells a girl he wants to be with how tough and strong he is  (and smart, of course), this means PROPAGANDA;

If he tells the girl how beautiful and smart she is, this means PUBLICITY;

If the boy asks a friend to tell the girl how tough, strong and smart he is, this means PUBLIC RELATIONS!!!

 By Raluca Filip

Informal Attitudes towards Change

The participants in an informal situation are not entirely aware of what happens. That is why, if you don’t pay attention, you may have serious problems.

In Latin America, the institution of family developed so much, in size, stability and influence, that it seems incredible for the North Americans, for example. Their government, on the other hand, does not have such an important place in the scheme of things as in the case of North Americans. The law in Latin America is technically reinforced, “quite as it should be”, but it is mediated by the family relations.

So the Latin Americans interpret law in a strict way and it is only in front of the Court where they try to influence the system – North Americans take the liberty to interpret law in a certain way but they become tough and technical once the law machine starts.

What circle do Romanians join? No one and all, which it means they DON’T join any of them. What I want to say in fact is that every institution of Public Administration in Romania has a different attitude towards change (as people who work there and the ones who lead it have), and it depends on it how Public Relations are regarded and their role in organizational culture and implicitly in improving the relationship with the other countries.

It is obvious that in time all the organizations tend to become self-oriented, concentrated to work more for themselves than for the public and their customers. In the private field, to a certain extent, competition or the threat of new competitors entering the market can stop this tendency. But in the public field usually there is few competition or there isn’t at all. The election mechanism is an out of order instrument and very often useless for keeping public organizations at the top and careful of the citizens’ wishes. The majority of the local authorities need to test themselves constantly. There are outer evaluations – from the center and audit – but they are based on formulae and general things.

A responsible local organization is the one that listens and learns by itself. An active policy for communication must be a part of the programme of Public Relations. Listening to the public one may hear complaints and critics as well as positive suggestions about allocating resources and ways of improving the services. An open and wide communication with the public is also a discipline: the institution must speak the same language as the public and express worries in such ways as to remove discrepancies between the organization and citizens.

 But this should be done once with the removal of communication in excessively formal terms. Local authorities are “political” bodies that swim in a sea of attitudes and ideologies. The way people think about political personalities and parties and the way their position about important problems that have to do with the distribution of resources is reflected on long term are all influenced by signs and signals coming from the institutions of Local Public Administration. Communication is a part of the democratic body that is local government.

Communication is not spontaneous, though. It is not a part of a natural order. On the contrary, left alone, the staff and elected members might “sink” in silence or use the well- known narrow channels of conversation – the political party and the professional network. Constant effort is necessary to communicate with the society. That is why this process must be energetically led, on the basis of the maximum understanding – between the parties – of the lines and melody that make the song.

 There are seven major sins related to Public Relations (Joseph F. Awad, 1985):

  1. Functional myopia – the failure in appreciating the whole aim of the important contribution that Public Relations can bring to a good management;
  2. The tap’s philosophy – we will head towards Public Relations whenever we need it…;
  3. Placing the vehicle before the horse – who needs research?;
  4. Local anesthesia – let’s deal with this at a local level!;
  5. The good news neurasthenia – we believe in the entire and complete public information as long as it is positive and it is favourably reflected on us…;
  6. The tic of sudden communication – why do you accuse us of lack of communication? – the information was mentioned in our last annual report!;

The illusion of the shadow – the philosophy of not being remarked. This absurdity is based on the belief that the organization may become invisible whenever it wants.

By Raluca Filip

Formal Attitudes towards Change


Formal systems are characterized by a great deal of “stability”, which is a feature that satisfies a deep need in all societies and individuals.

Except for some special circumstances, the formal changes slowly, almost imperceptibly. It also resists to an outer forced change. Usually Americans and Western Europeans are the ones believing that the formal systems of other peoples are immoral, insane, useless, backward (for example, in some areas of the Arabic world it is insane to clean running water – people there refuse to receive help for cleaning water and installing pumps).

First, we must understand and accept the formal systems of other peoples, in order to be able to work efficiently within them. Other examples: Americans used to hire Japanese builders according to technical qualifications – a natural error, the Japanese workers were upset because social hierarchy was not taken into account. The solution – allowing workers to choose their own leaders among the ones that had an adequate status. It didn’t matter they were old, didn’t speak English and didn’t know anything about engineering. BUT they could immediately choose young engineers as advisers. In the same way, the Taos Indians didn’t like white people, but after many tries they accepted the advice of a young agriculturer. Nevertheless when spring came the Indians got upset. The young man wanted to implement an early ploughing programme but he didn’t know Taos Indians believed that Mother Earth was pregnant in spring. And in order to protect the surface they didn’t drive the cars to town, took out the horses’ horseshoes and refused to wear they themselves hard shoes!

Very often, however, the conflict between different formal systems in various cultures may have a tragic ending. During the Spanish conquest of the New World, the Spanish people fought to kill and the Aztecs to take prisoners. Consequently, the Aztecs had to lose, having to do with an enemy that was killing in the battle. Because this was a formal system, the Aztecs couldn’t change it in due time to save themselves and their society.

The formal offers a wide perspective, whose margins the individuals-actors can fill with details for themselves. If they stay between these limits, life goes on calmly. If not, they are in trouble.

By Raluca Filip

Instinct, not just a cliche


Evil people, sneaky people , envious people can teach you something new every day. No, not how to be like them – although this answer would be perfectly logical.

How to avoid them, how to listen to your instinct which triggers the anti-aerial alarm in their proximity, how to wipe off the bullshit in which they premeditatedly got you involved in and how to move forward. It doesn’t sound glorious at all, does it? Unfortunately, life isn’t glorious; it’s just life, regardless of money, power, position and appearances.

So what’s the topic of this post? Coaching insight: developing and following your instinct.

In case you never have experienced irrational “alarms”, “feelings”, anticipations and other abilities that you don’t write in your CV, it means you’re either too young (no offence) or too rational – both of which are quite rare situations. Just try relying a few times on your hunches – in matters that are not of very high concern, for starters.

Try making a statistic of the feeling (interesting paradox, right?) and see how well you can read into situations, people and decisions. Be honest with yourself. People tend to overestimate their abilities.

If you reach the conclusion that you can’t really trust your instinct, it’s not a tragedy, that’s how most of us are.

But if you have been checking your instinct over time and it has proven its worth so far, listen to it. Put aside logical deductions, civilized assumptions, and thoughts like “I don’t have any rational argument”, “no such thing can happen”, “maybe I’m exaggerating anyway”, “I should act mature, I can’t justify decisions based on…nothing substantial.”

As long as it’s good and confirmed, listen to it, your instinct. Every time. Every time. Every time.

You will regret if you don’t do it. Every time. Every time. Every time.

By Raluca Filip

Interest from all sides

 

You represent an organization. You activate in a domain but also in a context.

 You have to be interested by everything that can influence you. Because others, for certain, are interested in you (as an organization, regardless of you being multinational, NGO, public institution, LTD). Therefore, start with a map of stakeholders – like the one below, for example.

 Stakeholders_Centrul_Medical_X

By Raluca Filip

Towards equilibrium!

“…to angle the balance towards an equilibrium.” Raise your hands those who can do such thing! Such thing…

I have quoted a minister who made an appearance last night at a news broadcast for the TVR channel. I didn’t record him, I don’t know his name (honestly, I doubt even his subordinates know his name), nor what minister he governs . The moderator used the word “minister”.

I was surprised by the complexity of the statement and by the high concentration of antagonistic terms in just a few words and in only a little break time of TV “zapping”. That returns me to an older rhetorical question of mine. How do you ignore something you can’t ignore?

Yes, I have expectations from at least a part of those that show up on TV (on one side and the other of the desk) to coherently express themselves, I like to interact with people that speak and write in a correct and civilized manner, I get annoyed when I interact with vain individuals that can’t speak nor write properly. Sometimes I decide to correct them straight-forward, sometimes I decide to stop interacting with the respective individuals. With no “closure” or explanations.

I’m not overreacting, although I have been told otherwise. I insist that I’m not. Why should I be ashamed that I have to deal with such an illiterate/uncivilized/rude (and, usually, incredibly bold because those attributes go very well hand-in-hand) men or women? I persistently believe that those individuals need to be brought down, otherwise we will die.

Of shame. Of the consequence of the shame of taking them down – public and private space invasion.

I make mistakes too BUT I always try not to repeat them. Or I use English terms to express some notions that are not reflecting quite the same thing in the Romanian language, I make some common errors, my posts are without diacritics although I like Diacritica very much (a smart woman from whom you can keep discovering new things, also good for revigorating your worn-out neuron).

Returning to my problem again. What do you do when you can’t correct nor “shut down”?

Watch how, in a minute of handling the remote control you can be assaulted unintentionally.

Yesterday’s example was, in fact, “soft” in comparison to others. It doesn’t stop me from marveling though – still – at the variety of televised specimens.

Yes, I know the suggestion “stop wasting time with the TV”. It’s childish.
But this topic will be approached in a future article.

By Raluca Filip

Regionalization and summer season

Easter holidays have assaulted me with opinions and commentaries about regionalization – on news channels, but also with a video of a pony “on the wave” – on music channels.

Undoubtedly, it’s a very popular topic. Again. Regionalization, not the pony.

Not only does everybody own an opinion, but they even express it in a televised way, about the matter of regionalization.
I remembered that – annoyed by so many politicians, political instructors (politruk), analysts and specialists – that I had taken a test in 2004 at the YPS, about this topic. And in 2005 I transcribed my work in an official document presented to the administration of the institution where I worked at that time.

At the present time, my opinion on this very fresh and endlessly debate has acquired different colors. Insignificant in the light of this presentation. My question is why are so few competent people interrogated and involved in this process? People that have learned, that have experience, a history, studies, a base, a foundation…I’m already turning into Urania (TV presenter who uses synonims for almost every word, accentuating the meaning of it)

What I want to put my finger on, though, is that investing in people deserves to be encouraged, but also exploited.

And a true politician (by the book, not in the pejorative meaning, well deserved by many) should know this.

I’m signing  everything I declare, (on every page, it seems – the document is scanned because I haven’t found the electronic format)

Regionalizare0001sm Regionalizare0002sm Regionalizare0003sm Regionalizare0004sm Regionalizare0005sm

 By Raluca Filip