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Some of the most complete and effective PR programs span the full breadth of an organization’s human resources. That’s primarily because people do business with people, and the more an organization can showcase the real people on its workforce who solve the real problems that real people experience around the world, the more likely the company is deeper level will resonate with more individuals.
If leadership ensures that everyone on a team is aware of the company’s public relations goals, there will be more champions across the organization looking for ways to contribute to the health of the public persona of the company, and more people will be thinking about how PR can help the company achieve specific goals.
If you’re considering starting a public relations program, or if your existing focus doesn’t include the downchart people who drive your organization forward, here are three reasons why you need to make sure your entire team understands — and is part of — your PR objectives.
Related: Navigating Your Company’s Communication Strategy During a Global Crisis
1. You achieve more business goals
In organizations that ensure the entire team is aware of public relations goals, more employees can think about ways in which PR, especially earned media, can help them achieve their individual goals.
For example, when I was the communications director at Piccolo Movingwas one of the most grueling tasks we faced each year, hiring enough movers across the country ahead of the busy hot weather season.
Our earned media strategy spanned the entire head office workforce and we encouraged everyone to see themselves as part of it. In the run-up to a busy season, the team responsible for recruiting movers asked if the communications team could help recruit more movers. We ended up selecting a group of markets that needed the most attention, with an emphasis on getting deserved media by promoting Bellhop as a great summer job for students. The result was a long list of on-brand stories that led to an increase in Bellhop applications in target markets.
If you make sure your employees are aware of your public relations capabilities and feel encouraged to use PR to achieve their goals, there are likely plenty of opportunities waiting to be discovered in your company.
Related: Why a good digital PR strategy is so important
2. You discover a story gold mine
Storytelling is an important part of the best PR programs. Stories resonate with audiences and help them appreciate a deeper connection to a company. If employees are encouraged to think about how the things they encounter can make for good stories, you’re likely to hear all kinds of anecdotes. Once you tap on this goldmine, you can use those vignettes in blogs, media pitch, social media campaigns and more.
working dog, a distributed workforce feedback platform initially launched in the trucking world, learned about the ways trucking companies took action — based on the feedback they received from their drivers — to improve their employee retention rates. The WorkHound team members who discovered these stories suggested turning them into a series of blog posts that could be shared with prospects and media outlets, all thanks to the team members proactively thinking about ways to turn the things they encounter every day into stories .
Once you start encouraging your staff to do the same, I bet the farm can quickly build a library of stories.
Related: How an Outdated Brand Story Can Strengthen Your Business
3. You keep the boat stable
Stay in business long enough and there will come a time when your organization will face unexpected setbacks (known as a “crisis”). In companies that have failed to help their entire workforce understand how a crisis will be navigated, internal uncertainty can contribute to tumultuous conditions. Executives will not only have to deal with choppy waters outside the company, but they will also be faced with calming their team wondering if the sky is really falling.
Does everyone on your team need to be aware of every step of your crisis communication plan? No. But they do need to be well aware of the general contours of the flow so they know what to expect and who to listen to.
Without this awareness, your team members will do what any human would do: they begin to fill the gaps in their knowledge with their own ideas and best guesses about what is happening and what is to come. Then they will start to share hypotheses with each other, and in a short time there will be speculation within your company, while you try to control the story outside.
Do yourself and your team a favor by making sure everyone knows what to expect and where to turn for information when things go wrong. This enables your team to operate confidently, knowing what to expect from whom, while the leadership team manages the crisis. Knowledge fosters a sense of security and certainty, and when you explore unpredictability outside the walls of your company, you have a team that calmly insists on their responsibilities – because they feel safe in understanding what is going on – will be a blessing.
Related: 9 Best Practices to Improve Your Communication Skills and Become a More Effective Leader
It doesn’t stop there
There are, of course, many more benefits to making your communication plan a part of your business that everyone on board appreciates and sees themselves in. Above all, it will foster a sense of unity by supporting stories that share a shared sense of ownership; provide an awareness that everyone’s individual efforts are part of something bigger; and show that immaterial connection can produce very tangible results.