Hawai‘i Pacific University


Hawai‘i Pacific University (HPU) is the largest private university in the state of Hawai‘i. In recent years, the university has struggled with financial difficulties that necessitated the need to lay off a number of faculty and staff, which significantly impacted employee morale. Following the efforts to rightsize the organization, HPU hired a new president, marking the beginning of a new era of leadership at the university and an opportunity to rebuild morale and trust. Bennet Group worked throughout the year on an integrated communications plan to boost morale among faculty and staff and earn trust and ownership in the new vision for the future of the university. The internal communications plan complemented the overarching strategic communications for the university and prioritized two-way communications via electronic channels and, most importantly, in-person events and interactions.


  • Developed Internal Communications Plan to help HPU faculty, staff and students feel informed and empowered to not only do their jobs well, but serve as HPU ambassadors and advocates in their respective communities.
  • Highlight the people – faculty, staff, students, alumni – who set HPU apart.
  • Prioritize the HPU ‘Ohana as the most important audience. Ensure that they hear news first and from HPU leadership.
  • Create two-way communication channels and maximize existing internal communications opportunities.


  • As a result of Bennet Group’s efforts, 38 percent of faculty/staff say their opinion of HPU has improved over the past year. Almost every response mentioned either the president or changes in leadership. 28 percent of undergraduate students say their opinion of HPU has improved over the past year.
  • Target audiences – parents, alumni, faculty and staff, and students – reported feeling optimistic about the university and its vision for the future.