They had been together for more than 12 years. Clients loved their work. Everybody on the 30+-person staff toiled really hard every day. Even though there were a couple annual parties to spread good will and share the love, something was missing…..Validation.
If the above scenario sounds like your workplace, take heed. The above company is a real one — and a virtual one to boot. Perhaps the lack of a bricks-and mortar setting — or validated parking perks everyday — added to the lack of feeling like “a real company,” a somebody, an affirmed entity. But the employees really did not feel like they were working for a bona fide company until a business profile of the company in the leading local newspaper gave them that boost, that third-party validation, that blessing from outside to make them feel “whole.”
A couple of blogs ago, we looked at an international acquisition that had prepared all of the messages and nuances for the news release. And then the question was asked, “What about the employees of the acquired company and those in the existing company?” What were they being told? A public relations strategy was quickly put in place to communicate internally with the people who report to work everyday, because employees are ultimately public people too who need to be related to with the same professionalism displayed to the company’s customers/stakeholders, media and others.
Memo to self: Create the environment and tools to do that consistently and go the extra mile when big news is in the pipeline.
Internal communications are just as important as your external ones — and in some cases, they may be even more important: How many news stories have you read about “a disgruntled former employee” doing something to avenge his or her treatment, a grudge, or a valid complaint at their former workplace?
Given the variety of channels people have today to flamethrow their pet peeves or their legit rants about where they have worked, validating employees through good communication tactics is simply a no brainer. It doesn’t even have to be a story that’s written about where they work (but that kind of third-party affirmation is priceless — and has a long shelf life). But it does need to be effective.
P.S. You probably didn’t notice — and thank you, if you did — but this blog has been on vacation recently. I should have warned you, or sent a memo around, but I didn’t, I apologize. Nothing personal. It won’t happen again, dear readers and blog constituents. It’s August. If you haven’t taken your time off, get to it. The dog days of summer have set in to be followed quickly by the fall toss of the pigskin and the ringing of the school bell.
For more resources, see the Library topic Public and Media Relations.
Martin Keller runs Media Savant Communications Co., a Public Relations and Media Communications consulting company based in the Twin Cities. Keller has helped move client stories to media that includes The New York Times, Larry King, The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, plus many other magazines, newspapers, trade journals and other media outlets. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 612-729-8585