The Bees in Your Own BackyardBy Christine Cox
It may seem obvious, but there’s a ‘free’ PR opportunity you as an employer may be overlooking every day.
The work environment you create for your employees is directly correlated to the image your company projects to the community. It’s the little things that you do for your staff – whether it be a staff of 2 or a staff of 22 – that resonate with everyone that comes in contact with your business. Customers, clients, visitors, various members of the community at large all play a part in your ‘public relations’ efforts. You don’t need a PR person to tell you this. Or do you?
1 – Do your employees feel a sense of ownership in the hive?
Do your employees hold stock options, however small, in your business? Do they receive bonuses, either in cash or gift cards, when producing exceptionally or helping you land an important account or sale? Do you occasionally buy lunch, or have a monthly ‘dine out for lunch’ where everyone goes somewhere fun for a longer than usual lunch and doesn’t talk ‘shop’?
2 – Do you walk the walk and buzz the buzz?
When you say you value your employees, what does that really mean to you? You should know the basics about their family life, their family of origin, and their hobbies or interests. It makes for a kinder, gentler work environment when there is some empathy around how people’s personal lives are going. (This doesn’t mean prying about personal things. There’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed, of course.) Are you empathic and supportive during personal or family crisis? Do you respect an employee’s need to take time off when necessary?
3 – Do you encourage your employees to present themselves in accordance with your beez-niss brand?
If you own a motorcycle shop, your brand is entirely different than if you are a restaurant owner or a print shop. Every business has a ‘brand image’ and your employees should be encouraged to respect and reflect that image. Even ‘off the clock’ it’s good to hire people that understand and truly support the importance of your brand image; and it’s important for you to encourage such.
4- Does your employee feel his work is meaningful?
Last but most certainly not least; everyone wants to feel that their work is contributing something to the ‘hive’. Employees need to feel supported and that there is someone to help them with struggles, whether on a project, with another employee, or with the brand itself. In the end, it’s the ‘little’ things that mean the most.
A recent NY Times article points out that “Gallup estimates the cost of America’s disengagement crisis at a staggering $300 billion in lost productivity annually. When people don’t care about their jobs or their employers, they don’t show up consistently, they produce less, or their work quality suffers.” This may seem elementary to you, but have you really given it enough thought lately. What are your employees saying to the general public about their job’s brand?
Are you your own best employee relations representative? And do you believe that those ‘relations’ bleed into how your ‘public’ sees and relates to you, to your employees, and your brand?
Don’t make your PR person’s job harder. Do your part! Think of your employees as happy worker bees, cross-pollinating throughout the community. Nurture the bee hive in your own backyard, and watch the honey start pouring out!