Internal PR: The Inside Story of Successful Businesses

Peter TerHorst

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Some of the greatest PR stories an organization has to tell about itself are well-known to everyone except its employees. How can this be?

An organization can become so focused on getting their message “out there" that they make one of two mistakes: the management assumes everyone working for the company already knows what is going on, or they simply fail to dedicate the time and energy to keep their own people in the loop. It’s a common pitfall encountered by for-profits and non-profits, large and small. Left unattended, it can lead to poor morale, increased turnover, and an image problem for the organization.

Never underestimate the value of do-it-yourself PR –- the idea that the leader of an organization can be a persuasive spokesperson. Second only to the organization’s president and CEO, in terms of credibility, are the company’s employees. Since most people assume that everyone who works for a wage is in it for the money, someone who sings the praises of their employer’s products, services or programs has a very persuasive effect on their audience, be they friends, relatives, acquaintances, or complete strangers. Let’s admit it, we enjoy being part of a team that recognizes the contributions of its people, produces or provides something of value, and supports community projects.

So what motivates employees to speak out positively on behalf of their employer? It’s simple –- tell them what the company is doing, what their role is, why it is important, and solicit their comments and suggestions. This internal communication is an essential type of PR.

Some simple suggestions include:

  • Conduct monthly or quarterly meetings where all employees are given an update on the organization’s goals and progress, can participate in the meeting, and receive recognition for their contributions.
  • Solicit suggestions for improvements in the workplace, sponsor contests for the best ideas, and publicize the results.
  • Give employees a first-look at new products or services and the plans to promote them.
  • Produce a monthly employee newsletter and/or create an intranet site that discusses company news and highlights employee initiatives and community projects.
  • Select a charitable cause that is related to the company’s mission, provide employees with an incentive to volunteer, and publicize their efforts.

    When employees are informed about what their organization is doing and recognized for their role in its success, they will become some of your best spokespeople.

    Peter terHorst is president of SymPoint Communications. For more information, visit

    © 2005 SymPoint Communications. All rights reserved. You are free to use this material in whole or in part in print, on a web site or in an email newsletter, as long as you include a complete attribution, including a live web site link. Please notify me where the material will appear.

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