Often during high profile and fast moving PR campaigns it is easy for public relations consultants to become blinkered by the need to secure positive media coverage and forget the importance of internal communications. The internal stakeholders, especially your employees, are a business's greatest asset; therefore it is important to ensure they are informed of good and bad news. This has become especially important with the rise of social media, which gives employees the chance to voice opinions and concerns in an open forum, which could ultimately damage a brands' reputation.
There are a number of ways PR agencies and brands can ensure employee communication is a key part of any public relations campaign. Here are a few ideas:
• Communicate relevant news, good and bad. It is important that employees do not hear about company news through the media or friends as this will lead to demotivation. ,Instead give staff as much notice as possible that the news is going out; this will give them the opportunity to ask any questions or voice concerns before it is published in the public domain.
• Encourage employees to spread good news. Communicating positive developments such as client wins, new appointments and encouraging financial results is a fantastic way to boost staff morale. Why not ask them to also spread the good news via their own social feeds too?
• Don't just rely on electronic communication. For larger organisations, a regular newsletter or news update out via e-mail will be enough to keep staff engaged with what is happening in the wider organisation. However, don't merely rely on e-mails to communicate with staff. Conduct regular face-to-face meetings to ensure staff are being listened to and are well informed, this will encourage better relationships between managers and employees.
• Welcome employee feedback. Encouraging employee ideas is a fantastic way of gaining constructive feedback from the people on the shop floor. Putting in place a formal employee feedback system is a positive way of ensuring ideas are taken into account, as well as raising morale as employees will feel their opinion is valued.
• Don't bombard employees with irrelevant communication. Whilst it's important to keep staff abreast of the news about the organisation, it is also essential not to over-communicate with them. Bombarding them with company news that may not be relevant will mean employees are more likely to switch off and will miss updates that are important to them.
Internal communications should be an important consideration for any PR company when conducting a PR campaign, particularly during such times when the economic environment is unstable and consumer confidence is low. Productive strategies to enhance employee relations enable businesses to build on the credibility of managers and the communications process. This, in turn, means employees are more motivated, due to strengthened relationships and their opinions are valued leading to more committed and productive members of staff.