Cover of Hallmark Employee Communication Survey results


As part of Hallmark’s culture initiative, a full review of the company’s communication programs and processes was initiated to: assess the current environment by defining the types of information employees needed as well as how they receive it; allow the Public Affairs and Communication (PA&C) and Human Resources divisions to identify ways to improve their communication support roles; and closely examine management’s role.


The Rodgers Group served as counsel to an internal “audit team,” providing the strategic direction and expertise needed to complete the research, while also helping to position the internal team as experts within Hallmark.

The research included an attitude survey for all employees, with special surveys for managers and sales employees. An inventory of current communication programs was completed, focus groups were conducted, managers and members of the PA&C and HR staffs were interviewed. In all, the research touched more than 40% of Hallmark’s U.S. managers and employees.


Hallmark continues to aggressively address issues raised by the research. Managers are held accountable for their efforts through a new Performance Management Program which considers communication skills a core competency. More frequent and detailed materials are prepared to assist managers in sharing key messages with employees and to “coach” them through the communication process. Open, honest communication is becoming the norm; it’s no longer the exception, at Hallmark. PA&C staff now serve as strategic consultants to division managers. Improved print, Intranet and meeting programs are in place.

Survey findings are being used to roll out initiatives for improving productivity and profitability. Armed with data regarding employees’ primary and preferred communication sources, managers are using a variety of vehicles to explain new information to employees. Ongoing evaluation and sensing mechanisms are in place so programs can be modified as necessary.

One Hallmark division has already re-surveyed employees to see the impact of significant changes implemented within a nine-month period. This division now reports improved communication between locations, shifts and management groups. Division management has hard data showing an improvement in employees’ trust levels, business literacy and overall morale.


The Silver Quill Award of Excellence
The Hallmark Cards Audit Team, headed up by Dean Rodenbough and Ellen Karp, and The Rodgers Group, Ltd. won a Bronze Quill Award of Excellence in the Kansas City IABC Awards Program and a Silver Quill Award of Excellence from IABC’s District 4 for this research and programming.The project won an Award of Excellence in the Management Processes Division of the IABC/Chicago 2000 Spectra Awards Program.