The communicative relationship between a business and its employees is not only important–it’s necessary! Like any structure, a company must have a strong foundation before it can start to build or expand. Unfortunately, it looks like there is a disconnect between how and what information is communicated from upper to lower level members of a business. According to Guth and Marsh of our handy blog guide, Issues in Public Relations, 71% of managers feel they are truthful with employees, yet only 53% of employees agree!
Yikes! So what is the issue here? I feel, especially in large corporations, there is a lack of understanding for how each department functions independently. People at all levels can inadvertently develop tunnel vision. They become so hyper-focused on their work and forget what is best for the other departments involved, and even the overall company.
Should employers offer full disclose to their employees? Or would excessive information become overwhelming?
It seems unfair to expect each individual in a company to understand every department inside and out, however I think companies should require employees to meet (at least once a year) to discuss what they are doing. Managers today need to keep all lines of communication open and strong.
The best businesses go above and beyond mere business communication and see the well being of each employee as a major concern. Dealer.com is a business in Burlington, Vt that exemplifies this philosophy; they hookup their employees with fitness centers, nutritionists, entertainment, and more. Talk about kickbacks! Just like little Johnny needs a gold star from the teacher, so does Steve in the IT department.
To what extent does a business spoil it’s employees? After all, aren’t consumers equally important?
Target was recently faced with a PR crisis of their own when employees at a Texas location shunned a breastfeeding customer to the fitting rooms. The customer was outraged and ordered the members of the Mom Squad to join her in a National demonstration. The poor Target Corporation was stuck between the lactating mom’s and their uneasy employees.
What should a company do in this situation? Stand by its employees or the customers?
Target remained neutral, but ultimately leaned toward the customer. They released the following statement, “We continually educate our team members in stores across the country on store policies to ensure all guests have a great experience. Target has been in touch with the store to ensure all team members are aware of our breastfeeding policy. Target is proud to support all mothers who breastfeed year-round, including today.”
While this didn’t turn into a PR catastrophe, I would say Target’s attention to employee relations is sob-worthy in this instance. Come on guys, don’t leave your employees high and dry!
Employee relations means taking care of a key public in good times and bad. It’s important for businesses to maintain communications across all departments and offer rewards when they are warranted. Poor employee relations can lead to a low morale and mediocre output. Public Relations practitioners must keep in mind, everything starts from within the company.