Following on from my last post, I have just finished reading a great article by Opinion Leader Research (part of Chime Communications - the UK's leading PR agency). Entitled "Friends or Foes? : Are your employees ambassadors or detractors", it talks about how we need to:
...stop viewing employees as a passive mass...and need instead to start conducting real conversations with people that are about developing strategy, not merely implementing it.
It makes the point that employees are viewed outside the organisation as a far more authentic and open source of information about the company than its marketing or management. This fits with my thinking too. Many times I have been on the phone to a utility supplier, for example, who ends up giving me the warts and all reality of their own company.
Successful organisations of the future will put employees at the heart of their business planning and communications. They will recognise that it is their employees who connect with every other stakeholder, shaping and forming and informing their beliefs and behaviours. They will feel comfortable with employees being the voice of authenticity.
Couldn't agree more.
Couple of small points. They state
Employees can be an organisations most influential and powerful communicators.
This might be nitpicking, but what the hell. Employees are an organisations most influential and powerful communicators. They are having the conversations down the pub, with their friends, families and with your customers whether you like it or not. The only issue for you is whether you wish to be a part of the conversation as well.
Also, they spend some time talking about identifying influencers within the workforce and working with them to get other employees on board. My sense is that he who shouts loudest is not always the right person to be engaging with. Often the quiet types respond to different types of conversation. That doesn't mean their views should be overlooked.
Anyhow, this is a great article that is well worth a download. Hat tip to the Marketing Society for alerting me to the piece.
As an aside, I walked past Chime's offices the other day and commented to a friend "You know, that is a business that is going the way of the dodo. PR is really going to struggle in this new world". Seems there might be more going on inside those 4 walls than I ever imagined!