Beyond Informed

Yikes. The new interactive whiteboards really were a good idea – and they were paid for with a special donation. The facilities staff installed them during the summer, removing the old white boards. In a few classrooms, they even took out old chalkboards. They look great, the donor is pleased and the administration is happy to offer this new instructional tool. So why are the teachers frustrated as they show up in August to set up their rooms? Seems no one remembered to tell them about the switch. The most annoyed? Those who don’t have a clue about how to use the new technology and who don’t care to!

Keeping employees informed is a critical, early step in effective public relations. The time-tested adage to start communicating internally before communicating externally is still right on. It’s about more than information sharing, though. It’s really about helping employees feel connected so they are engaged around the brand.

Want those teachers to not only use the new interactive whiteboards, but also tell parents how innovative the district is for installing them? Want the staff in your clinics to answer the phone before the third ring every time because they believe patient access is key to their work of delivering better healthcare? Want workers on the line to not only adapt to new equipment, but also support their team and supervisor during the transition so you can meet more aggressive customer deadlines?

Carrying your brand forward means intentionally engaging employees as part of your culture. Create strategic, positive communication processes. Build those processes into both daily work and initiative planning. Consider what change really means for the employees it most affects. Include not only executive leaders in your planning, but also strategically incorporate key managers and front-line staff. Share frequently and transparently through a variety of channels. Listen as much as you talk. Follow-up, and invite feedback.

By all means, keep employees informed. Then, move beyond. Engage

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