PR and corporate communications professionals often talk about the rise of citizen power in today’s digital age. We know it is undoubtedly true that on the internet and digitally the balance of power is always shifting more and more to the public. Social Media activism has given citizens a voice against brands and we have seen the implications for PR and reputation management.
However, what about the increasing rise of employee power in recent years? That is an issue perhaps which is less talked about within our industry but of equal if not greater importance.
Let me give you an example of the rise of employee power and show you where I am going with this. Glassdoor is a site that helps people find a job and company they love. The site offers public reviews of salaries and benefits of an organisation by employees. Some predict it will become “the trip advisor reviews site of employers”. What employees say on the site will clearly have an impact on employer and brand reputation as the growth of Glassdoor and social media continues to rise.
The challenge we face is that as corporate communications professionals we cannot manage that reputation management risk for a brand on our own. Corporate communications as a business function has never been sustainable or worked well operating as a silo. It has always thrived when it is integrated into all aspects of an organisation including the behaviour of all employees in an organisation or brand. The challenge for corporate communications professionals has always been doing that successfully and sustainably for the SME businesses they advise or mentor.
A deeper partnership and integration with HR strategy offers a way I believe to do this more sustainably and reduce brand reputation risk. There is already common ground between corporate communications and HR as key business functions. Both functions for example seek to motivate and engage employees to improve brand reputation and add value over competitors. A shared resource and stronger strategic alliance between HR and Corporate Communications arguably makes good business sense in a digital climate where we are no longer just dealing with the rise of consumer power through social media but also rather the increasing rise of employee power.