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Putting employees first

Date: Nov 11 2012

I recently attended the CIPR Inside conference, ‘putting employees first’. There was a great turnout and some brilliant speakers. The theme of the event was thought to be controversial, and I believe it’s something that no organisation can afford to ignore.

We live in a world where deference is a thing of the past. We don’t trust our bosses, the media or politicians. So against that backdrop, I believe employees are more influential than ever before as a trusted source and employers must harness their ideas and engage with employees if they want to be more successful.

The message from David MacLeod and Nita Clarke from the Engage for Success Task Force particularly chimed with me. Their message was ‘internal comms needs to be prioritised’. If employees are happy, productive and engaged, they do a better job. Clearly, that’s better for business and ultimately the economy.

Internal communication is essential for the wellbeing of an organisation. But it also has the scope to make work more enjoyable, even fun (yes I did say fun). If you’re not engaged or interested why would you care about what you do? If internal communications can be part of the solution and make employees’ working days easier, more enjoyable, with greater opportunities to express themselves and interact with the organisation who knows what we can discover and how we can do better business.

Before I started uni and my path to PR, I managed restaurants. During my time in the catering industry I was under no illusion that if my staff were having a bad day, so too did my customers. I knew it was important to look after the team, listen to their ideas, let them kick back at the end of a crazy busy Saturday night and to let them enjoy working together. They were also our best ambassadors, if they told someone the restaurant was rubbish, their word carried more gravitas than the money we spent on advertising.

As organisations grow they can lose sight of the basics of putting employees first. But the internal communication team can be best placed to help organisations to listen to their employees and feed what they are saying back in to the corporate strategy.