Giving visibility to leadership is essential, but it can be even more powerful to give visibility to the rest of the organization. Often, messaging focuses on the folks at the top and doesn’t give much coverage to the employees who are making the products, delivering the service, closing the sales, coding the platforms—not to mention staff who support those people.
Here are five ways to create more visibility for the people doing the real work in your enterprise:
1. Quote employees in online content: On the intranet or in your employee publications, use rank-and-file employees as sources rather than only quoting the C-levels. When you cover a new product or a new plant, showing examples of collaboration or innovation, rank-and-file folks will share insights that other employees will want to read.
2. Build a library of employee photos: This is not about snapping someone’s head-shot standing against a beige cubicle. Invest in photographers to shoot employees in context of their work. Then use that library of employee photos to illustrate everything from your intranet to digital signage to the annual report. If you have multiple locations and types of workplaces, try shooting at three to five places a year and building the library over time.
3. Enlist an employee ambassador team: Establish a small group of front-level employees who represent all functions, and enlist them to be conduits for your culture. You might start with an off-site gathering where the team can bond, with leaders on hand to talk about the culture, where the company is going and what it stands for. Then use this team to give culture presentations to their colleagues and to report back to leaders on employee questions, concerns, progress and setbacks. When you draw up major changes down the road, such as product introductions, mergers, or an IPO, you’ll be glad to have this team of influencers in place.
4. Create a peer-to-peer recognition program: Top-down recognition is great, but it can be more compelling to be applauded by one’s co-workers. Establish a periodic recognition program in which employees drive the process of who gets recognized.
5. Help employees see the value of their roles: At the heart of employees’ feeling celebrated rather than invisible is to help employees see how their individual roles contribute to business success, and make sure they see leaders recognizing their contributions as well.
David Cheatham, APR, is President of Transform Communications, LLC