We haven’t said anything much about the importance of employee communication in building and maintaining an organization’s presence in the community and the world. So let’s make amends right now: Employees and their understanding of an organization’s goals and trials matter greatly; they can be among your best communicators, if you equip them to be.
Tiffany Nelson, of Calypso Communications in Portsmouth, NH, brought employees to mind again in a “Lessons in Crisis Communication” blog post, urging us not to forget them. “All too often,” she writes, “employees learn of their company’s crisis situation through news reports or social media. Ideally, employees should be hearing the messages in real time, before the general public, whenever possible.”
That’s in a crisis situation. Employees ought to be kept advised, and receive training on workaday and crisis communication both, as a matter of course. Simply to appreciate the importance of feedback in communication, whether internal or external, is invaluable.
For organizations of any size, emergency communication drills are advisable, to insure that employees understand, and are equipped to practice, their response roles.
Truly, good external relations start internally, crisis or not.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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