During this economic slump, companies are looking at the most cost effective ways to get out the word about their products and services. They are struggling to control their brand essence and key messages, as the Internet becomes the most important source of information for many consumers. But companies are overlooking their most important communications channel to the outside world – their own employees.
It is employees who are most often the primary interface between the company and its customers. New technologies are transforming the way companies do business. But employees are underutilized as brand advocates. They are not being motivated to rally around the company’s mission and goals. It’s not an overstatement to say that business transformation will only be accomplished by gaining the commitment of employees at all levels to drive growth and performance. The key to ensuring success is consistency of communications to the right people at the right time with the right messages.
But the media is an increasingly intrusive “partner” as reporters pounce on every bad piece of company news – often coming from the mouths of unhappy employees who are left out of the loop about important new company developments. Online chat rooms sponsored by Yahoo and Vault and networking sites like Twitter and Facebook provide public platforms for employees to vent their grievances and the media and customers are tuning in.
So a word of advice to companies about using your employees as your most ardent champions to help drive growth during these tough times:
· Keep up a constant stream of information to employees so they are up to date on everything going on in the company and can funnel important information to customers
· Make sure they hear what’s new before they read about it in online media
· Encourage employees to use social media like Twitter and Facebook to promote the company
· Trust your employees to do the right thing – you are all in this together
Employees want their company to succeed. It’s in their best interests and they want to feel like they are part of the solution and not the problem.