Imagine how you would feel if you heard about a family secret from a third party on the internet, or in the newspaper?
That is exactly how employees feel every time they learn about a significant announcement or bad news from somewhere other than company leaders.
This powerful observation opens a fascinating chapter in RockDove’s new ebook, ‘The New Rules of Crisis Management’, focusing on the role of employees in a crisis.
The chapter is authored by Necole Merritt, an experienced communicator who is now adjunct instructor on business communications at the Georgia State University.
You can register for your free copy of the eBook here.
Necole’s theme is that in the haste to protect an organization’s reputation with external audiences, leaders too often forget that employees are one of their most important audiences.
Necole illustrates how employees can be effective resources to support the company’s talking points and business objectives.
But for that to successfully happen, as part of its crisis planning, an organization needs to include a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy that is developed and tested well in advance of the worst happening.
This approach is illustrated in the eBook with the true story of when a plan to build a nuclear power plant is stymied by vocal critics and dissenters.
The plant launched a three-day program during which employees went door-to-door to speak with 20,000 neighbors of the proposed plant. As a result, the local residents became actively supportive and the plant was built.
Here’s Necole’s approach to preparing the ground to have the best chance that employees will be your advocates and ambassadors during a crisis (there’s lots more detail in the eBook!):
- Take a Pulse Check: Understand the level of employee engagement across the organization. If the engagement is low, the chances are that it will be difficult to recruit employees as advocates.
- Develop a Pilot Program: Once you have a positive pulse check, test a program with the most engaged employees (they are usually easy to identify!).
- Educate Employees: Share information with the team members across the enterprise about the organization’s objectives, messaging and business strategies and provide access to a repository of information, such as an intranet.
- Role Clarity: Clearly define the employees’ roles, goals and boundaries for employees.
- Measurement: Have a clear measure of the program’s effectiveness and be prepared to check and adjust the program based on the early findings.
Read more about Necole’s analysis of the role of employees in in crisis communications by getting your free copy of the book at https://www.rockdovesolutions.com/the-new-rules-of-crisis-management.