VOL. 126 | NO. 40 | Monday, February 28, 2011
Don’t Ignore Most Important Audience
Your company is rockin’ and rollin’ along - doing a great job with keeping your customers up-to-speed on new products, services and other essential details. Customers couldn’t be happier. Of course, customers are the most important audience, right? On one level, yes. But what about your employees?
Internal communication is one of the most overlooked aspects of running a company, but your employees should be at the top of your communication chain. Announcements that affect your customers also affect your employees. From acquisitions to simple product rollouts, if your employees aren’t “in the know” first, they can’t be expected to be able to answer customer questions or give the most up-to-date responses.
So, how can you ensure your employees remain one of your primary communication audiences? Here are a few tips:
Consider an employee newsletter.
Too old-school for you? Try a blog. Employee newsletters or blogs are useful in making sure your employees are always aware of key organizational changes. They’re also a way to build camaraderie and rapport by offering kudos and other notes to show appreciation for employees. If you go the blog route, enable comments (activating the moderator feature) to stimulate great conversation among employees and leadership.
Announce major changes to your employees before making that news public.
No one likes to be the last to know - especially employees. If your company is making a big change, be sure to incorporate a companywide e-blast or memo to employees just before making the public announcement. Whether it’s something as small as announcing a new Facebook campaign or as large as selling off a division, your employees will appreciate that you thought of them first.
Create ambassadors out of your employee-base.
Who are your greatest spokespeople? Your employees! So why not arm them with the information they need to be positive ambassadors for your company at all times? Simple talking points to create message alignment or an ambassador training day can make all the difference in the world in ensuring that your company’s message is consistent across the board.
Encourage two-way communication between leadership and employees.
A wonderful work environment is one in which employees feel they are part of the process of creating success for the company. By encouraging suggestions or constructive communication between corporate leadership and employees, your business can foster a work environment of creativity, trust, transparency and flexibility. Setting up a special e-mail address or other forum for idea-sharing can be a simple start to a shift in philosophy that allows for all to be involved in helping the business be successful.
Of course, these are just a few ideas. When it comes down to planning your internal communication strategy, several factors will come into play, including your business size, industry and culture.
Crissy Lintner is director of client services at Obsidian Public Relations, a Memphis-based firm that provides strategy and tactical deployment across the PR spectrum.