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Kroger Details Employee Communications

COLORADO SPRINGS — Kroger Co. is pursuing a multi-tiered effort to enhance internal communications on topics such as company vision, values and strategies, Lynn Marmer, group vice president, corporate affairs, said during a panel discussion here.

COLORADO SPRINGS — Kroger Co. is pursuing a multi-tiered effort to enhance internal communications on topics such as company vision, values and strategies, Lynn Marmer, group vice president, corporate affairs, said during a panel discussion here.

The retailer’s program ranges from a system of internal “Culture Councils” in which groups of employees meet to help solve company problems to direct communications between employees and top executives.

“We want to make it come alive for associates,” she said of the company’s efforts.

The panel took place during the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Executive Conference.

She noted that David Dillon, chairman and chief executive officer, and Rodney McMullen, president and COO, communicate to associates via a blog to help stimulate dialogue.

The retailer recently surveyed some 250,000 associates in its “Associate First Tracker Survey” and found the feedback both invaluable and “humbling,” she said. Kroger shares the results with employees who participate and that creates a new dialogue about what the next steps should be.

“Each unit or group creates its own action plan and executes it,” she said.

McMullen, who also participated in the panel, said the blog is an example of taking a flexible approach to communications.

“We have to be open to how we communicate, especially in reaching younger employees,” he said.

Another panelist, Nancy Reardon, senior vice president and chief human resources and communications officer, Campbell Soup Co., emphasized the need to be innovative in methods of reaching employees. She said her company is using an internal social networking tool and electronic signage in hallways to help make employees more engaged.