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Some of the most well-rounded and effective PR programs include 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 staff who are solving the real problems experienced by real human beings far and wide, the more likely it is that the business will resonate at a deeper level with more individuals.
Also, if leadership makes certain 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 business’s public-facing persona, and there will be more people thinking about how PR can help the company achieve specific goals.
If you’re considering launching a public relations program, or if your existing focus doesn’t include the down-chart people powering your organization forward, here are three reasons why you need to make sure your whole team understands — and is a part of — your PR objectives.
1. You’ll reach more business goals
In organizations that make sure the entire team is aware of public relations objectives, more employees are able to think about ways PR, especially earned media, can help them achieve their individual goals.
For example, when I was the communications director at Bellhop Moving, one of the most consequential tasks we faced every year was onboarding enough movers across the country ahead of the warm-weather busy season.
Our earned media strategy included the entire headquarters workforce, and we encouraged everyone to view themselves as a part of it. In the lead-up to one busy season, the team in charge of mover recruitment asked me if the communications team could help drive more mover applications. We eventually selected a group of markets that needed the most attention, focusing on getting earned media by hyping Bellhop as a great summer job for undergraduates. The result was a long list of on-brand stories that led to an increase in Bellhop applications in target markets.
There are likely numerous opportunities just waiting to be uncovered around your business if you make sure that your employees are aware of your public relations capabilities and feel emboldened to leverage PR to achieve their goals.
2. You’ll uncover a storytelling goldmine
A significant component in the best PR programs is storytelling. Stories resonate with audiences, helping them appreciate a deeper connection to a business. When employees are encouraged to consider how the things they encounter might make good stories, you’ll likely become privy to all kinds of anecdotes. Once you tap this goldmine, you can use those vignettes in blogs, media pitches, social media campaigns, and more.
WorkHound, a feedback platform for distributed workforces that initially launched in the trucking space, learned about the ways trucking companies were taking action — based on the feedback they’d gotten from their drivers — to better their employee retention rates. The WorkHound team members uncovering these stories suggested turning them into a series of blog posts that could be shared with prospects and media outlets, all thanks to team members proactively thinking about ways the things they encounter on a daily basis can be turned into stories.
Once you begin encouraging your staff to do the same, I’d bet the farm that you’ll be able to build a library of stories fast.
3. You’ll steady the boat
Stay in business long enough and there will come a time when your organization is faced with unexpected adversity (a.k.a. a “crisis”). In companies that have failed to help their entire workforce understand how a crisis will be navigated, internal uncertainty can add to tumultuous circumstances. Not only will leadership have to manage choppy waters raging outside of the company, but they’ll also be faced with calming their team that is wondering if the sky truly is falling.
Does everyone on your team have to know about every single step comprising your crisis communications plan? No. But they do need to be soundly aware of the general outline of its 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’ll start filling in the gaps in their knowledge with their own ideas and best guesses as to what’s happening and what’s to come. Then they’ll start sharing hypotheses with each other, and in short order, speculation will be running wild inside your business, all while you’re trying to control the narrative outside of it.
Do yourself and your team a favor by making sure everyone knows what to expect and where to turn for information when things go sideways. This will enable your team to confidently keep working, knowing what to expect from whom, while the leadership team deals with the crisis at hand. Knowledge promotes a sense of safety and security, and when you’re sorting through unpredictability outside the walls of your business, having a team that calmly keeps plugging away at their responsibilities — because they feel safe and secure thanks to the fact that they understand what’s going on — will be a blessing.
It doesn’t stop there
There are, of course, many more benefits that come along with making your communications plan a part of your business that everyone on board appreciates and sees themselves in. More than anything, it will promote a sense of unity by supporting narratives that create a shared sense of ownership; offer the realization that everyone’s individual efforts are a part of something greater; and show that intangible connection can yield very tangible results.