While much of our work consists of providing companies with strategy on external communications and generating buzz about products, services and brand to the end-user community, we often find that businesses tend to overlook their most important ambassadors: their employees. Many companies don’t have any kind of internal communications plan, which can be understandable if they don’t have the resources to create and implement one. However, at the very least, they should be communicating key points on their company news on a regular business to this very important constituency.
There are a number of reasons that your company should have an internal communications plan and a direct method to communicate with employees in the event that a piece of news needs to get out fast. Whether launching a new product or a crisis has come up with the company, it’s important that the driving force behind the organization has the proper talking points. Additionally, regular communication with your employees has a variety of other benefits, like helping to increase morale and participation. Conversely, when employees learn about major company announcements and issues from sources outside of the office, they can think that the message wasn’t really important to them, which affects how they relay the news to their professional networks and partners.
There are a number of simple steps that organizations can take to ensure that their internal communication channels are timely and effective:
Develop a Newsletter just for Employees
Developing a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter that is targeted to employees is one of the easiest ways for ensure that they are learning about important events and developments within the company. It also gives the employees a sense that they are part of the team and being included on big announcements as they happen. It also gives them the tools to be able to communicate company news (non-confidential) to their networks with the talking points that the business provides. Lastly, it provides an opportunity to share news and profiles of other employees at the company, which is important to creating a culture of team building.
Establish a Monthly Company-wide Communications Meeting
Bringing the entire workforce together periodically gives the communications team and senior leadership the ability to communicate directly to the company’s most important ambassadors. It also allows them to ask questions and get comfortable with the messaging points. This is key for employees to accurately relay the information to external audiences.
Establish an Employee Feedback System
Make it easy for employees to offer their feedback on what they think can be improved (or what is working) at the company. This can be wide ranging and include everything from company policy to how products are rolled out. Employees are on the ground floor and are constantly interacting with customers and other stakeholders, allowing them to pick up important signals that management may be missing. The anonymous suggestions through this system can help the company pivot on important matters. Additionally, it empowers the employees to give candid feedback on the company without fear of retribution.
The bottom line is that it is important to communicate with your employees for both a moral and a messaging standpoint. Often times, our employees end up being our most important cheerleaders and it’s important that they are equipped for this responsibility and also feel like they are an important part of the team. If you host regular corporate outings, they can be another opportunity to thank the members of your staff and get to know them on a personal level. Depending on the venue and type of event, in certain circumstances it can make sense to include time to inform everyone of important corporate developments.
We spend hours ensuring that a new product or service has the proper messaging around it before it’s disseminated to potential customers and partners. The same type of care should be spent for the company’s # 1 ambassador. Every time an employee leaves the office, they will be representing the business. It’s important that you give them the tools to do it well.
Adam Waitkunas authors the column “Anecdotally Adam” and is President of Milldam Public Relations.