There was another interesting Commschat that took place last night and once again the focus was heavily on reputation management. In the Twitterchat this time it was the role of internal communication on reputation that was under discussion.
It was clear that internal communicators and those working in public relations need to develop more effective influencing skills. We aren’t yet able to promote the importance of internal communication and employee engagement to the future of the business. The workforce have to be at the heart of work to develop the reputation of the business. They are the brand ambassadors and the people who should embody what the business is about. In times of crisis they should be the first thought in the communication planning as they can have the biggest impact on developments.
There is a fundamental part of reputation management that impacts on the workforce and that is doing the right thing and focusing on what matters to the people. Honesty is critical in developing a positive reputation and it is as important to the workforce as it is to the people buying the product or using the service. If it doesn’t exist then your reputation will be damaged and possibly by your own workforce.
So what do we need to do? We have to understand that reputation is what is developed through what we do and not just what we say. We have to see honesty and transparency as essential to communication both with the public and with employees. We have to build trust in what we do so that we can influence the boardroom and put internal communication at the heart of reputation management.
It is work that we need to do now when we have the time and are not under pressure because of a reputational crisis. But who will take up the challenge to refocus our approach to reputation so that employees come first?