Employees are key cross-stakeholders. An employee is a customer, a shareholder and a member of the greater community – with a unique view of the company.
Examining the “rhetoric-reality” gap experienced by staff members is fundamental to dealing with gaining their commitment and loyalty.
Organisations can develop a positive workforce culture, attain acceptance of management decisions and change, and enable employees to develop a better understanding of corporate strategy and understand how their efforts contribute to the organisation’s success. This can translate into increased motivation, productivity, enthusiasm and initiative.
People are considered ‘assets’ and ‘capital’, but return on this investment is limited by the gap between philosophy and practice. They need to be seen as partners.
Internal stakeholder communication, combined with congruent HR and customer strategies, can address this discrepancy and change performance: sales, customer retention, turnover, staff retention and productivity.
Employees – powerful advocates and critics
Employees can be customers, shareholders and are part of the community. They need to be seen as such – these roles aren’t independent.
Community and media
They are uniquely affected by what is published in the media (and social media). Negative reports affect their self-esteem related to their jobs and sometimes cause embarrassment. Often they have to defend their company’s action in social occasions and via social media. Disgruntled employees are sources of leaks and rumour.
On the positive side, employee communications via the media is a powerful medium, which isn’t considered by many organisations.
Through bonus arrangements and employee share plans, more employees are shareholders and require special communication/education. We believe that in providing shares in lieu of monetary bonuses and as a free “reward” from a profitable employer, the company has an obligation to provide a minimum shareholder education to staff.
Ultimately it is the customer’s experience that shapes its views about the organisation (and products) and its behaviour. Despite technology, customer experience is based on interaction with employees (call centres/face-to-face). Thus any customer strategies require focus on employee relations as well as the development-to-sales process. This is essential with the rise customer voice via social media – their experiences are shared through providing ratings, likes, dislikes and commentary on organisations and their products and services.