We have heard over and over again that the best protection against a PR crisis is to have a great reputation and a tightly knit network of support. Those of us who dedicate ourselves to the wonderful world of corporate communication know that getting those two things right requires plenty of time and effort on one hand and robust strategy and planning on the other.
It is, therefore, a long-term task that also requires daily actions. In order to reap the rewards of a solid reputation, it is essential to act in an irreproachable manner with each of the stakeholders, starting with our own employees. To paraphrase the great master of internal communication, Pablo Gonzalo, it is useless to say over and over again that our professionals are the raison d’être of our brand if we do not demonstrate it every day or if we don’t set out to help them become real prescribers to the same vision.
I firmly believe that it is impossible to have a good reputation without employees committed and aligned with the corporate purpose. But this doesn’t always depend their will or interest. In fact, it almost never depends on that. It is a responsibility that corresponds unequivocally to the leadership team of the company or institution. Thus, this challenge should be permanently on top of the top executive’s desk, as well being firmly prioritized by the members of the Board of Directors. For this it is necessary to provide management indicators (the famous KPIs). Therefore, let’s start to measure as soon as possible not only the level of employee engagement through the work climate surveys, but also their level of recommendation (NPS) and their contribution to reputation indicators. Fortunately, there are several proven methodologies which can provide specific diagnostics and strategies for continuous improvement.
These indicators can be grouped and integrated in a scorecard that serves as a roadmap in the decision making process and in the corresponding action plans. In some cases, these plans will require budgeting that should be proportional to the size of the challenge. It will be at that point where we can check on whether there is real commitment to employee satisfaction and the consequent improvement of the brand’s reputation.
José María Palomares
Director of Communication and Institutional Relations at the European University of Madrid and President of Multinacionales por Marca España