28 -02-2019

Blog | Your employees: the forgotten communication stakeholder

28 -02-2019

Blog | Your employees: the forgotten communication stakeholder

Are your own employees a full-fledged target group in your PR plan? No? Then you’re probably not fully executing your role as a PR manager. After all, the most well-known definition of our beautiful profession is still ‘the systematical stimulation of a mutual understanding between an organization and its stakeholders’. And aren’t your employees some of your most important stakeholders? If they’re not part of the people you want to keep perfectly informed, you may be committing a capital error.

Okay, this intro might have hit a sensitive spot. And I can think of some good reasons why you may have answered ‘no’ to the above questions. Maybe it’s because your company has a separate person or division responsible for internal communication. But even then, it might be useful to keep on reading…

Retention > HR

A retention policy is a powerful weapon in the war for talent – that’s something we’re all aware of. But what many don’t realize is that a good retention policy involves so much more than an annual wage increase and team building. Do you want your people to become real employer and brand ambassadors? Do you want your departments to collaborate more efficiently and with more team spirit? Are you tired of the rumors that are always circulating among your employees? Then inform your people about what’s going on in your company. Also, convince them of the direction in which the company is evolving, and tell them how you want to achieve those goals as a team. Apply this approach to the entire business, especially if it’s large or decentralized. Good content is the perfect tool to achieve those goals.

By the way: your own PR achievements also deserve a spot in that content. Those great media highlights are not only your chance to shine, but also a great way to make your employees proud of their brand. And at the same time, you’re solving one of the most persistent complaints we hear from our customers: that they can’t get the interesting corporate stories to the surface. Take customer cases, for example. The right people will definitely find you when they notice how you can turn their information into an attractive case, which in turn can attract new customers. This way, your internal communication becomes what it should be: a two-way street.

SOS Crisis

It’s necessary to also consider your own people as full-fledged stakeholders in your crisis communication plan. If that’s not the case for your company – or even worse: if you don’t even have a crisis plan at all – this can have severely damaging consequences for your business. If your employees aren’t aware of the procedures when things go wrong, you might risk your receptionist leaking information to any journalist who has picked up the smell of a juicy story. We’ve seen this happen many times. In order to avoid this, you should always quickly inform your employees about everything that’s going on, as clearly and honestly as possible. If you don’t, it’s the media that will provide your employees with the (possibly inaccurate, speculative or exaggerated) information. The regular meetings at the coffee machine will do the rest, resulting in serious internal reputational damage.

Roll up those sleeves

There are many more reasons why you should take your internal communication seriously. So why is it that so many companies still don’t realize this? In the case of smaller companies, this is mostly due to the main financial focus on growth. A real hazard, as the adrenaline only numbs the internal growth pains until they reach chronic proportions. In larger companies, internal communication is usually looked at from two different perspectives: the HR department and marcom department – one doesn’t have the necessary communication knowledge and the other is too concerned with the external KPIs that are generally scrutinized. And so, little or nothing is actually moving. An external specialist can therefore be of extremely high value for both small and large companies – strategy and/or execution wise.

Do you want to make an actual difference with your internal communication? Do you want an agency equipped with the communication and content expertise to help you turn your employees into real ambassadors? In that case, we’re happy to listen to your challenges. Feel free to contact us.

By Johan De Ost, senior communications consultant and content creator

–> Want to know how we recently practiced what we preach? Then read this crisis communication story.

–> Looking for tips to create internal content? Then check out this blogpost I wrote for Contentbureau, our content agency in the LVT Group.