I reckon every leader has, at some point, announced ‘our people are our priority’. It’s so often said, but so rarely true when it comes to communication. Employees are often the last to know about corporate news that affects them, or to hear of new products and services that the company is offering. Here are five reasons why you should make employees the cornerstone of your comms planning, rather than an after-thought. By Sweetcomms Director Paul Sweetman
1. Employees are your company
We all form our views of companies through the people we deal with. The way those representatives behave makes or breaks our willingness to engage with or buy from their company. Put simply, they are the company to us and the other people they deal with. If you haven’t engaged and equipped them to provide a compelling customer experience, any image you’re trying to create through PR or advertising is like a house built on sand.
2. Employees are people too!
As those insightful musicians Depeche Mode once said, people are people. If you heard about crucial company news from the media rather than your leaders, how would you feel? Happy or angry? Committed or concerned? And would you be more or less likely to your best when at work? Help your leaders understand and respond to this basic human truth.
3. Employees influence others
In the social media era, employees are both your advocates and your arbiters. They can actively support your company, promote its products and defend it if necessary. Or they can damn you with silence or overt criticism. They are the ultimate litmus test of your company’s offer and they can share their views instantly. If they’re not engaged, they can’t support you.
4. Employees know more
With the best will in the world, you can’t know everything that’s happening at the front line. You can’t see all the opportunities for improvement or pick up on every emerging issue. But your people can. If you’re communicating with them well, and embedding a culture of effective engagement, they’ll be giving you feedback and ideas every day. So you can keep improving your operations and identifying difficulties before they evolve into problems.
5. Employees deliver results
Above all else, perhaps, your people shape performance. No business strategy, however well crafted, delivers results without them. If you don’t communicate effectively with them – before you engage with people externally – your plans will remain stuck on the page.
The list could go on. There are so many reasons why employees should be the priority audience for any organisation. Ask yourself this: is your current approach really releasing the full potential of your people? If you can’t answer ‘yes’, it’s time to take action!
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