At a “Recession – Now What?” panel discussion hosted by the Greater Baltimore Tech Council this morning, executives led off with the following advice: now is not the time to clam up, shrink away and keep things to yourself. This is the time to “overly communicate,” they said. Start with your management team, but pay close attention to your employees and customers.
This tells me that if you are responsible for corporate PR – and especially internal communications – this could be one of the busiest and most important times of your career.
The CEO and management team might know what’s up with the company, they said. But that information – and a lot of it could be good – doesn’t necessarily trickle down to employees. “There can be a loudness of no communication,” cautioned Mollie Spilman, president and CEO of BDMetrics. The leader sets the tone and everyone’s watching, she said, so anything from body language to words and actions can impact the organization.
As a leader, you need to instill “structured as well as non-structured” communications internally and ensure your company is seen as “indispensable” by your customers, added Nigel Knowles, president of LCG Technologies.
And while it’s important for employees to be aware of what’s going on – and how they can contribute – it’s also critical to communicate externally, beginning with existing customers. You need to talk to your customers even more frequently to “take their temperature” and be on the lookout for warning signs, said Rick Faint, managing director of Evergreen Capital.
After that, take a look at your external communications which reaches all of these important audiences – and more. What does a company’s silence tell us?