Face to Face(s) to Build Reputation
Heyman Associates recently conducted a survey among 550 corporate communications executives and some human resources professionals — “Is Your Company Talking to You?” A large 71% said that they are getting the amount of information they want about their company’s current economic situation. Also the person doing the most talking was the CEO (81%). This is good news because our research at Weber Shandwick found last October that 71% of people felt that their company’s leadership should be communicating more about current economic problems and 54% had not heard from company leaders at all on the impact of the financial crisis on their company. Luckily, things have changed on the communications front for most people.
What interested me was that a majority said that they would like increased informal in-person communication. Nearly two-thirds (65%) wanted increased informal in-person communication while one-half (50%) preferred increased formal in-person meetings. These figures are quite high compared to the less than one-third (31%) who desire increased formal written materials. There is always a segment who does not want to get too close to management or consider their communications a waste of time. This reminds me of the day that I was at the offices of a truly notable company and heard that an employee emailed the CEO asking to be taken off the CEO’s mailing list because he did not want his inbox clogged with messages he never read. Wow. Wonder where this person is today.
Reputations today can be simply built on going back to the basics such as good internal communications. Having an employee base that supports the company’s initiatives is critical. A work force where the CEO communicates in-person, face to face or face to face(s) goes far in developing loyalty, familiarity and support. I endorse as much face-to-face as possible in this fragile reputation world.