In the latest “Best of” issue of Public Relations Strategist, Diane Gage Lofgren, APR, Fellow PRSA, and Catherine Hernandez Tirey, both of whom worked at Kaiser Permanente the moment the article was first published, share insights on how employees are a company’s best brand ambassadors.

Here are Inside Out: Employees as Our Best Brand Advocates’ main points:

  • “Value your employees.” As communicators and PR professionals, it is our job to counsel our company’s leadership on how to communicate and behave in ways that demonstrate the organization’s values towards its employees.
  • “Give employees a sight line to your success.” Employees need to know how their work contributes to their organization’s success. As PR pros, it is on us to ensure that the company’s leadership communicates key messages consistently with employees. It’s important to provide leaders with specific phrasing that they’ll use regardless of where they are located. In other words, we must ensure “our leaders are speaking with one voice.”
  • “Inform employees with timely, relevant information.” It is pertinent to communicate to employees timely and relevant information before sharing it with the public. Whether positive or negative, employees should always get the facts first. By doing so, employees feel valued and equipped to represent their organization in a positive light.
  • “Harness the power of social media.” Social media makes it easier for employees to engage with others in an organization. It provides a platform for employees to “exchange ideas, provide or receive feedback and learn from others.”
  • “Innovate to reach employees.” Ask employees what’s the best way to communicate with them, and don’t be afraid to try new ways to reach them. At the moment Lofgren and Tirey’s article was published, they tested the implementation of digital signage boards and training for managers to reach employees who didn’t have access to the internet at work. They also engaged in video ethnography, which allowed them to follow frontline staff with a video camera, with the intention of analyzing the video and searching for new ways to connect with those employees.
  • “Communicate well-being.” Healthy employees deliver the best care and services to customers that’s why it’s important to support employees with a strong and healthy work culture.

Stay tuned…

Diane Gage Lofgren, APR, Fellow PRSA, is chief marketing officer at Sharp Healthcare. Catherine Hernandez Tirey is vice president, Public Relations & Communications, at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.

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