Companies live and die by the strength and believability of their brands – what they want their organizations to be known for.
But in this digital age companies are struggling to control their brand essence and key messages as information – both good and bad – is shared across social networks around the globe in a matter of seconds, often diluting the power of their brands.
New technologies are transforming the way companies do business. But employees are underutilized as advocates of change. They are not being motivated to rally around the company’s mission and goals.
It’s not an overstatement to say that business transformation and a burnishing a company’s brand will only be accomplished by gaining the commitment of employees to drive growth and performance.
Internal Communications is Lacking
Companies are overlooking their most important advocates to the outside world – their own employees — because of a lack of internal communications. And this can torpedo a company’s reputation.
It is employees who are most often the primary interface between the company and its customers. But the media is an 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 and networking sites like Twitter and Facebook also provide a public platform for employees to vent their grievances. The media and customers are tuning in.
The key to ensuring success is consistency of communications to the right people at the right time with the right messages.
What’s Gone Wrong?
Internal communication efforts often fall short because:
- Behaviors don’t match the message, especially senior executive behaviors
- Communication is not viewed as an important process
- Communication is blocked at many levels – up, down and across
- Complicated and lengthy approval processes prevent timely distribution of information
- Employees don’t hear things first, thus a loss of faith develops
- Too much is communicated and more important messages are lost in the clutter
- Employees are turning to their external message boards, the media and social networks for news about their own company
Getting it Right
Companies that find their employees relying on outside sources as their primary source of information have lost their most important change agents. It takes effort and commitment by companies to keep employees informed and excited about their jobs. But, if they do, employees will become the company’s most effective brand advocates.
Through regular communications, top management will help build an army of dedicated change agents working from the same playbook towards reaching shared goals for themselves and their organizations.