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Transparency and employee ‘stickability’

By Nick Clark, MD of Nelson Bostock Unlimited

I was recently asked to contribute to a feature on how to maintain employee engagement. The request was specific to the PR industry but could be easily applied to any industry, and any business.

In answering the question, it’s hard not to leap to things like benefits (salaries and incentive schemes, healthcare, flexible working, enhanced maternity and paternity schemes etc.) as well as creating a strong culture and social scene. There’s no question these are crucial factors but I’d argue there’s actually something that’s far easier to achieve, but so often ignored. Transparency. Radical transparency.

Information has never been more readily available but are we saying the right things to the right people and are we changing how we communicate to accommodate audiences that listen in different ways or perhaps more importantly, hear things differently? The answer is no.

No audience is more important than your own staff. In times of crisis, and let’s face it something is going to happen even to the most bulletproof businesses, it’s the commitment and loyalty of employees that gets you through. When employees also turn on their own business, think Ryanair last year, you’re in trouble.

We know the power has shifted…from governments to citizens, from brands to consumers and from employers to employees and yet we’re still falling into the same traps – telling people on a need to know basis, not trusting them with information or trusting ourselves to deliver it. Treat your staff like your most important customers and don’t be afraid to tell them the unadulterated truth. With transparency comes trust and where there’s trust there’s a ‘I’ve got your back’ mentality, which is so important in all forms for business.

In my world, clients don’t buy agencies, they buy people and great work. We are nothing without our people and my team feels most engaged when they have a true sense of their value to a business and the collective goal. If I can do nothing else than show them this, then I have done my job.

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