GroundFloor Media & CenterTable Blog

At GroundFloor Media, our team of public relations and digital marketing strategists has worked with a wide range of clients ranging from start-ups and nonprofits to Fortune 100 companies. While our work is varied – we have helped organizations weather everything from U.S. Senate investigative hearings to class action lawsuits to social media attacks to product recalls, to executive malfeasance – one common theme we see across all these issues is a woeful neglect of one critical audience: employees.

And it is not just in crisis communications that employees are overlooked. We build strategic public relations campaigns for companies everyday, and we have to continually lobby for employees to be considered as a key audience.

My colleagues and I have tried to diagnose why employees are often an afterthought when it comes to communications campaigns. We considered a number of theories and finally identified the most prevalent one – senior executives assume that employees’ weekly paycheck buys their loyalty and support. Afterall, they reason, the big checks, bonuses and stock options that they receive has bought their loyalty. Surely it is the same for rank-and-file employees.

The reality, of course, is that employees are motivated by a number of factors, and they are not always just financial. Employees also want to be treated with dignity, to feel respected, and to do work that they consider meaningful. Assuming that employees are loyal just because they cash paychecks is a naive and dangerous assumption.


Too often, senior executives assume that employees’ weekly paycheck
buys their loyalty and support. After all, they reason, the big checks,
bonuses and stock options that they receive has bought their loyalty.
Surely it is the same for rank-and-file employees. 
That’s a dangerous assumption.


Executives, particularly those in the C-suite, too often don’t consider the positive impact that motivated, well-informed employees can have on an organization’s success. That is particularly distressing because employees have the ability to move the needle for the company more than almost any other audience. There is no greater brand ambassador for an organization that a proud employee.

And the stakes are even higher during a crisis. As you build a crisis response plan, make sure that you treat internal audiences with the same level of care and sophistication that you treat external audiences. The respect and appreciation that it will engender in employees will pay dividends both now and in the future.

Jeremy Story is a Vice President at GroundFloor Media, where he co-leads the firm’s Crisis, Reputation and Issues Management practice. He has more than 20 years of experience helping companies ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 100 prepare for, manage, and recover from crisis issues.

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