Traditionally, businesses used to take an overly cautious and calculated approach in terms of social advocacy as they did not want to offend the employees and other stakeholders. They also always wanted to maintain a balanced and unbiased political stand to upkeep their reputation. There is an increasing demand now for corporate leaders to take a solid stand in terms of the social and political issues around. The leaders have to decide when they have to act out or speak and when to keep silent. This is where an organization’s communication or public relations team comes into a significant role.
Modern-day corporates treat these communications teams as key strategic partners in business administration. These teams can strategize and help implement the best practices, which help in mitigating the need for any public statement as and when needed. They can also provide a solid foundation in terms of the brand’s sociopolitical view and ensure credibility.
Ram Chary on value setting
Ram Chary points outthat the best communication strategies always precede effective public communication. To maintain a credible stance on divisive issues, the company must function as per the set values in terms of functional practices and communication. By living these core values and ensuring compliance consistently, any company can get rid of the need to issue a statement on each event to be newsworthy.
It is also to be ensured that there is no real distance or mismatches between the internal values of an organization and the external brand. For example, an organization should not treat its employees poorly while advocating for humanitarian values at work. So, the companies should first set their core values and guiding principles for their internal operations. This should be made comprehensively by covering the financial decision, communication tactics, etc. It is also essential that the companies try to hire, train, and promote individuals who effectively share those values and stay loyal to the organization.
It is also the responsibility of corporate communication teams to see how these core values are built and communicated to the stakeholders and internally to the employees. They should also find ways to effectively integrate into public affairs and empower the branding efforts. By integrating the core values consistently into communication, corporate communication teams can ensure that all the stakeholders understand the company’s standpoint properly.
Making employees participate
The companies must also try to create more opportunities for the employees also to raise their concerns. This has to be done in a very constructive and productive manner. You can plan for mediated group discussions, transparent internal communication models, training and development opportunities, etc. There has to be a bottom-up approach to decision-making, which has to bring better cultural values to the organization. There should also be some formal on-ramps for the external community leaders to connect with company leaders and engage in productive discussions.
So, Ram Chary says that corporate activism has become the need of the modern-day organization, whereas the corporate managers and decision-makers need to act smart in order to effectively incorporate it into the company values and operational models to play it safely.