Employees – your secret weapon!

Many years ago, the CEO of a client, a MNC, recounted a personal experience to us from which he got a new insight, and tasked us to develop a plan to leverage it. He was on a flight in the middle of a product quality crisis the company was facing. The issue was all over the media. The person sitting next to him on the flight got talking to him, and learning which company he was working for, started castigating the company. The CEO, being fully knowledgeable about all aspects of the case was soon able to set the record straight and convince his fellow traveler of the company’s viewpoint.

The thought then came to the CEO that just like him, other company employees too must be facing a barrage of questions from friends and family, and even total strangers, just like he had then. And he wondered what the others would be replying. For example had someone from finance or admin or security or HR been in his place, would he/she have been able to give a satisfactory reply to a stranger’s question on product quality? He doubted it.

The next day he called us and tasked us with working with his concerned people to prepare a pocket-size booklet of FAQs relating to the company, its products, and its overall business operations, to be given to all employees to read up on and remember. We developed this important internal communication document and devised a system whereby a communications team member in the company was entrusted with ensuring that the booklet was periodically reviewed and updated as required.

At least three positive outcomes resulted from this action.

First, company employees developed a much deeper understanding about the company they worked for, beyond what they knew already, which generally was limited to their specific area of work.

Second, learning more about the company developed a deeper sense of loyalty and belonging in the employees.

Third, the employees became effective spokespersons of the company, or brand ambassadors, spreading the company’s key messages and positive attributes, while also removing misperceptions held by others whenever a situation so demanded.

Too often companies tend to think that employees are the responsibility of the HR department only True, HR has primary responsibility for employees’ terms of service, administrative matters like leaves and monetary aspects and so on. But the internal PR and communications team working together with the external PR agency must also have an ongoing and energetic employee engagement plan, for employees are a company’s secret weapon! If employees are motivated enough to feel a sense of ownership, then not only will their work productivity be much higher, but they will also be the best brand ambassadors the company can hope for.           

About Author

As the CEO of APR since February 2002, Zohare Ali Shariff is responsible for all business operations of the agency and personally counsels high profile clients on communications and PR strategy, issue & crisis management, stakeholder engagement and corporate social responsibility.

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