What goes on inside an organisation can be heard outside with explosive effect. Employee policies affect a brand’s public reputation.
Satisfied employees improve the public reputation of a brand. The Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 shows that consumers are more likely to trust the word of individual employees (55%) than that of the corporate itself (45%). That is why protecting and motivating the people who make an organisation work is the responsibility not just of HR but of the communications team. So the comms team can help align employees with the organisation’s mission. And it can empower and uplift staff. That is because what goes on inside can be heard outside.
PricewaterhouseCoopers showed the worst and best examples of inside outside communications management in May. The Evening Standard ran a story stating that a receptionist at PwC’s HQ had been sent home. She refused to wear heels. This was a requirement enforced by sub-contracted reception services firm, Portico. PwC, not directly responsible for the policy, replied tersely. It said: “the dress code referenced in the article is not a PwC policy.” That didn’t work and the story was huge for 7 days or more – explosive effect! Therefore, PwC quickly admitted this response was wrong. And it soon realised it should take responsibility for the employee policies of its sub-contractors.
The story and PwC’s response affected the brand’s public reputation. So PwC swung into action to correct it very quickly. The firm harnessed social media, video and blogs to highlight its initiatives to champion diversity and to explain how it was tackling remaining inequality in the workplace. PwC staff posted photos of themselves wearing flats. It issued an apology to the young receptionist too. And behind the scenes PwC reviewed every supplier contract with inclusion and diversity in mind.
Influence magazine Q3 2017