Corporate Mouth Piece or Employee Advocate?
I attended Marcus Evans 6th Annual Conference on Internal Communications and Employee Engagement
in Orlando for Senior Communication and HR professionals. It was an intimate group of fifty or so senior professionals sharing their organizations’ stories. The economy had affected almost every business. Some interesting themes emerged in the two days. There were great discussions about how to make leaders more visible, how to rebuild an organization’s culture, how to create transparency, and even reexamining the employee value proposition.
It was implicit that these themes and many of the associated tactics are central to organizations’ objectives of trying to rebuild trust. In this severe recession, it’s not just politicians and political institutions that Americans don’t trust.
Employees don’t trust their leaders. This lack of trust has bottomed out and according to Edelman’s trust barometer, while still very low, has increased 18% over the past year.
The communicator is central to rebuilding trust. Angelo Ioffreda
, Senior Director, Employee Communications of NII Holdings (Nextel Latin American)
said the communicator has a unique role within the organization that at times can be in conflict. They are both the voice of the corporation, its brand and culture and they are also the advocate of the employee.
Kraleigh Woodford, head of internal and client communications for UBS America gave really good advice on how to become a better employee advocate. When working with senior leaders, she thinks it is imperative that the communicator ask the really tough questions, not to be afraid to push back and be strong enough to say no.
In order to be a strong communications counselor, Jeffrey Brooke
, director of employee communications at the US Government
printing office implores communicators to get out of your office to listen and meet with your employees - informally on the shop floor, in the lunch and break rooms as well as formally by conducting engagement surveys and focus groups. Measurement and hard data help him build credibility with leaders.
Listening and feedback was important to almost everyone at the conference and helps the communicator become a more effective employee advocate. It was great to see so many communicators really embracing the spirit of social media. That it isn’t about the bells and whistles or a passing fad but can be a powerful way to create spaces for conversations, connections and communities.Lisa Gick
, VP Employee Relations at Macy’s
has created a conversational culture with listening chats, rallies and giving employees tools to recognize each other with their innovative peer to peer “Making Magic Every Day” campaign. Employees can give each other “You did something great today and I noticed” cards and each time they recognize each other they are entered into a prize drawing.
How do you see yourself as a communicator? Corporate spokesperson? Communication counselor? Employee advocate? Or do you create spaces for conversations and dialogue? Contact me
- I'd love to know.Let's Talk!