• How can staff perceptions build an organisation's reputation?

    The function of internal communication has seen a number of developments as organisations rethink the way they motivate and engage with their staff members. As well as investing more in these efforts, companies are recognising that internal communications represent a crucial aspect of their broader perception management plan.

    Part of the reason for this is that workplaces with a strong internal communications strategy are also more likely to report having workers who are engaged and happy with their organisation. This was explored by Harris Poll, which found a clear relationship between how well an organisation communicates and how highly employees rank its reputation.

    In companies that are effectively communicating information internally, 76 per cent of staff ranked their organisation as having a strong reputation. This compares to 36 per cent in the poor communication group.

    Similar results were also recorded between familiarity with organisational goals and perceived reputation. Almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of respondents who understand organisational goals ranked the company's reputation as strong, compared to 39 per cent among poor communicators.

    Clearly there is a strong link between how well a company communicates and how reputable the company's employees think the business is. The next question is: How does employee perception affect a broader communications strategy?

    The role of staff in corporate affairs

    Many employees are now becoming aware of the part they play within an organisation's external perception management strategy. According to research from the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) in the UK, 63 per cent of staff members feel it is the responsibility of all workers to maintain their organisation's standing.

    At the same time, staff members are aware of the role reputation plays in hiring and retaining staff members. The study found that reputation ranked in the top three considerations for employees when they apply for a role.

    The PRCA's PR Council Chairman, Tony Langham, suggested that there is a reinforcing relationship between organisational reputation, staff performance and recruitment.

    "The reputation of an industry or an organisation is integral to those who work within it, and to some people it is crucial to who they are prepared to work for," he stated.

    "Organisations with strong reputations are more able to recruit and retain the best talent and to get the most from their workforce. A positive workforce can also act as a powerful army of ambassadors for a company and individually help maintain and protect reputation."

    As more organisations look to harness internal communications and staff reputation as a method to build a strong external reputation, the demand for corporate affairs and communications professionals with skills in this area is likely to remain high.

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