Event recap: Don’t Let Your HR Sabotage Your PR: How to Leverage Internal Communication to Protect Your Brand

On May 27, CPRS Edmonton held its AGM along with its last PD luncheon before the summer hiatus. During the PD portion, Karina Crooks, Principal of Vivid Shift, gave an insightful and thought-provoking presentation on the impact PR professionals can have on internal communication, employee engagement and the effect of both on a company’s brand. An organization’s prospective job candidates, current staff and departing employees all can affect its brand – and ultimately, its bottom line. Given this, PR professionals have a vested interest in ensuring a company’s brand is being effectively managed from both outside and inside the organization’s walls.

As a recruitment marketer, Karina provided a unique perspective on the importance of employee engagement for the preservation of brand integrity, reputation management and customer relations.

Click here to view the slides.

Key takeaways:

  • We are seeing an evolution in what matters to consumers – from where products were made in the 1990s through to environmental consciousness and corporate social responsibility in the early 2000s to the current focus on workplace culture and how employees are treated.
  • An organization’s brand encompasses not only its vision, mission, goals and values but also character, workplace culture and reputation both internally and externally. And HR is having a much bigger role now in developing a company’s brand identity.
  • Who is managing company reputation at various stages in the HR process? Companies should be viewing every employee-related policy and HR issues as a potential branding issue.
  • Job seekers are influenced by a company’s reputation, and this becomes even more apparent with online review sites such as Glassdoor and Rate My Boss.
  • Instead of hyper focusing on “authenticity,” place greater emphasis on acknowledging reality about your company’s workplace culture, internal issues (e.g., bullying) and degree of employee engagement.
  • Employees can become a company’s biggest brand ambassadors (positively or negatively), even after they leave a company. And it’s important to remember that what other people say about a brand carries more weight than what the company says.
  • Equip employees with the information to speak about your brand accurately and effectively through a variety of channels. And ensure that the company’s messaging matches the employees’ experience and those messages are something that staff feel comfortable supporting.
  • With employees increasingly becoming “brand ambassadors,” it really matters how they’re feeling and how they’re sharing this information with their networks and to a wider community online. Frustrated and unengaged staff, especially those who end up laid off or fired, can have a negative impact on a company’s overall reputation, particularly if they share their experiences through social media.

Karina also cited results from an Edelman Trust Barometer study that found the majority of respondents surveyed (over 30,000 from 28 countries) indicated that employees are the most credible information source about a business – so people listen to them.

With Millennials comprising an increasing proportion of the workforce, it’s becoming even more imperative that companies focus on strengthening the way they communicate with, and engage, their staff throughout every phase of the employee experience – from recruitment and onboarding through to the exit process. Doing so will help to ensure your brand is protected and the equity you’ve built in that brand remains intact.

Something to add?