KAREN HORN is a communication executive with experience in financial services, technology, healthcare, energy, manufacturing and education. She is recognized for connecting communication systems, employee experiences, listening and human capital metrics to create employee commitment. Karen spent a significant part of her career at GE, including the leader of Global Organizational Communication and Diversity at GE Capital. She developed GE’s first manager tool kit, which was widely distributed and later used as a benchmark throughout the profession. At Cisco Systems, she led the development of MyComm, the first on-line tool for communication planning. She has won numerous awards and is recognized as a dynamic speaker at global conferences and leadership meetings. Karen began her career teaching English and working as a journalist. She first learned about business principles from her dad while being raised on a chicken farm. She has an M.S. degree from Purdue and a B.A. from Manchester College.
“Astute and instructional; should help point the way to effective employee relations for company leaders.”
– Kirkus Reviews
A communication executive expounds on employee engagement in this debut guide.
In a work she describes as “a quick read and reference,” Horn deftly outlines the basics of employee engagement. Her wide-ranging material about communicating with workers supports that theme. Divided into four parts, the strong book covers communication frameworks and tools, explains employee surveys, and wraps up with a plan for putting together a strategic message system. The author is careful to point out the differences between how executives and employees define communication, which, she suggests, “is the root cause of many problems—and too often those problems are addressed with the wrong solution.” Horn distinguishes among executives, managers, and employees throughout the book while presenting basic communication techniques that can be applied across all organizational levels. One of the more compelling discussions surrounds the issue of communicating with specific audiences. While many business communicators might start with the message, Horn writes, “a better plan is to begin by thinking about the audience….If you consider the audience first, it will allow you to put parameters around the message.” Her insights into the need for “assessing the amount of attitude change” among various corporate audiences are likely to be of great value to senior managers. Likewise, the author’s recommendations for developing key messages, supplemented by a step-by-step guide, offer a streamlined method for any communicator. The lengthy chapter regarding employee surveys may be too densely packed for some readers, but it does explain in detail the implementation and scoring of such assessments. On the other hand, the chapter that explores how to develop a “connected listening strategy” is concise yet cutting-edge in its approach to using data to understand staff needs. Horn is clearly a subject matter expert, enhancing each chapter with a closing section, “My Experience,” in which she shares examples and observations from her more than 30 years of work in companies across numerous industries.
Astute and instructional; should help point the way to effective employee relations for company leaders.
Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2017
Page count: 226pp
Review Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2017
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018
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