Should employees advertise their company?

In public relations, we know that reputation is heavily influenced by employees, and that their positive endorsement can be a highly credible form of word of mouth.

But that credibility needs to be genuine – with family and friends trusting what they are being told.  So what about the latest idea from  executives in the US where management have apparently asked employees to “say good things about the company to absolutely everyone”.

The sentiment regarding the impact of employees as key communicators is correct, but should you instruct people to promote the organisation?  You should make sure employees are well informed, but surely management should ensure a company is a great one to work for, and then word of mouth from employees will be spontaneously enthusiastic.

That seems to me to be much more valuable than seeing employees as “walking advertisements”.  Where’s the credibility in that?

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

2 thoughts on “Should employees advertise their company?”

  1. I agree entirely – this approach will undoubtedly cause a backlash and even negative employee advocacy.

    For employees to be positive advocates the company culture needs to be appropriate AND employees need to be given appropriate information.

    Without both these factors I can’t see it working.

  2. Simon – there is a term “internal marketing”, which I dislike enormously as it implies pushing/selling the company message. Like “human resources” it depersonalises people. I prefer to think of “internal relations”, where you need to engage by communicating with employees because it is the right thing to do as well as because of their major influence on customers and other publics.

    I know it might be naive (Marxist even) to think of any sense of equality, but employees should be treated with respect and valued, not seen as tools in marketing or production terms.

    Again it comes down to “command and control” – you can bully and buy compliance, but real results depend on believe, trust and support. That requires their hearts and minds to be engaged positively – as you say, reflected in corporate culture.

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