I have seen many organizations so focused on delivering their messages to the local news, government officials, through social media and events, and in newsletters, that they forget to communicate with their own workforce. Employees notice this, and they are likely bitter about it. It sets up your company for failure.
An informed workforce leads to a more successful organization, as well as improved control over your reputation. Whether it’s boosting your overall reputation or building a strong enough reputation to withstand any bumps along the road — having your employees feel connected to the organization is very important. Making sure your employees are the first to know what’s going on will increase their likelihood of supporting you and will help to ensure they’re spreading the right messages.
Your employees are ambassadors for your company, even if unofficially. They represent your brand in everything they do — inside the organization, as well as out in the community. It is their actions and attitude that can become your most powerful tool.
So think, do you have a few key staff members who are already “brand ambassadors,” whom you could invite to join a new initiative? If so, this will help get the effort started with the best people, and make these employees feel special because they are being “invited” and recognized for their commitment. It’s as simple as keeping them up to date with some key messages, along with giving them ideas for when and how to share the messages in everyday situations.
If you have a team of a dozen or even 30 employees, it’s probably not that hard to talk with them every day. But where most leaders see a challenge (and typically give up) is when they have hundreds or thousands of employees. It seems impossible, or at least impractical, to try to talk to them every day. But it’s not impossible — and leaders take greater risks by not doing it.
The best way to do it is, once again, to empower your workforce to help you deliver your messages. Have your director of communications develop a set of simple bullet points for each day of the week, including upcoming events and taking the opportunity to reinforce some training and your company’s values. Consider adding a question every couple of days, too, to help generate two-way discussion.
These messages should be delivered in the natural groups within your organization — maybe by department or by shift. The delivery of these messages and any follow-up discussion should take no more than a total of 10 minutes.
Plan to develop these messages at least one week in advance, and then provide them to a set of “group leaders” — these can be department heads if that makes sense, or any staff members who might be interested in taking on more leadership. Now, you have even more people helping you to lift the weight of organization-wide communication, and they all have the same messages.
In fact, establishing and maintaining this level of communication — and empowerment — could help to attract and retain some of the best talent for your organization.
The benefits can impact every area of your business.
Are you being heard?
Crystal DeStefano is president and director of public relations at Syracuse–based Strategic Communications, LLC, which says it provides trusted counsel for public relations, including media relations, employee relations, and community relations. Contact DeStefano at Crystal@stratcomllc.com