In my view… Your people are your PR ambassadors
Published 00:00 on 15 Jun 2019
I recently presented a 'tongue in cheek' review of 7 Epic HR Failures at the Chamber's Business Breakfast and it got me thinking about how HR and PR are so closely aligned.
I chose examples of big brands that had hit the headlines over the past few years. You may remember "BBC still failing women over equal pay" and Byron Hamburgers with their alleged 'fake staff meeting' which turned into an immigration raid.
Whatever your view on the rights and wrongs of these apparent failures, one thing can't be denied, all were picked up quickly and reported by the media, including newspapers, TV news and social media platforms. Publicity can be great but the overriding message on these stories was negative. Inevitably, it impacted on the public's perception of their brands and their reputation.
The Queen's grocer too came in for a mass of negative publicity when trying to introduce a new scheme to share out 'tips' in return for staff taking a lower basic wage. Although the majority of staff apparently agreed to the change, the media stories had been around the world twice before the full facts had got their boots on.
In the case of HMV, their (now former) employees took to the company's official Twitter account to liveblog administrators laying-off nearly 200 staff. One tweet read "Just overheard the Marketing Director ask 'how do I shut down Twitter?'"
The similarity in these stories is companies trying to do 'HR' things and either getting it completely wrong, or at least underestimating the impact on employee and public relations.
Remember, our people are our ambassadorsand we should all be concerned about what they think. They watch how we treat them and their colleagues, even how we deal with departing employees, for example, through redundancy. If we get it right, and management shows respect, fairness and consideration, it will enhance the company's reputation, it's brand and employee engagement.
Dianne Lambdin, Vice Chair of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and The Sussex HR Hub, June 2019
Last updated 10:10 on 4 October 2021