Good PR starts with Internal PR

By Natalie Blachford

Engaging employees for better business

When businesses say they need ‘good PR’, more often than not they’re talking about public perception of the company, product or venue. It’s very easy to focus on what people are saying about you in the media, online or in the local community, but PR isn’t just about what everyone outside of your business thinks – it’s about what those within it think too.

Internal PR is a fantastic tool for communicating your key messages to your team and generating employee engagement that will ultimately lead to a happier, more productive workforce and consequently better business.

Employee engagement is something that may not have been a high priority in the past, but now it plays a crucial role in recruitment, retention and even external communications. It’s something that should be considered in the earliest stages of communication campaigns and can be just as important as external PR.

The importance of employee engagement is heavily backed by research. Forbes columnist and author Kevin Kruse reviewed 29 studies of employee engagement and among the key results it was found that organisations with highly engaged employees achieved on average twice the annual net income of those with low engagement and that highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their jobs than disengaged employees.

If you’re trying to attract millennials to work at your company, employee engagement initiatives are highly valued as younger employees want to buy into the vision of the company. A recent study in America found that almost two thirds of millennials would rather earn $40,000 in a job that made them happy than earn $100,000 in a job they found boring, which means that values are changing.

So how can internal PR help your business? Well it’s not easy – employees can be your best ambassadors but also your harshest critics and they will be the first to see through anything that’s inauthentic.

Transparency is key, but also making sure it’s a two-way conversation, listening to employee feedback and acting on it to show that their contributions are valued is essential.

Focus groups and workshops are a great way of getting employees together to discuss the issues that affect them and gather valuable feedback. If you’re doing this, it’s a good idea to have separate forums for different levels of employees, as the issues concerning senior management are likely to be very different to junior staff.

Engaged employees can help your external PR efforts too. We’re often amazed by how many little gems can be found by talking to staff in different departments that can become the hook for editorial comment or an interesting news story. A workshop focusing on PR and marketing can help key members of the team understand the strategy and how they can contribute, in turn leaving them feeling more valued.

Whether it’s hosting interactive workshops to get key members of your team on board with marketing and PR strategy, writing award entries to celebrate the hard work of your team or producing in-house publications and marketing materials to get people engaged, Custard can help.

We have extensive experience in internal PR and communications and can help you get the most out of your team – just give our team a call to find out how.