If you’ve ever thought about giving your workforce a communications or publishing platform, now’s the time to do it.
Think about it. There’s so much to say. There’s so much uncertainty. People are looking for advice, expertise and leadership to navigate the current environment.
We’ve watched enterprises scramble as to how to communicate with staff and customers during this time and we’ve seen them make quite a doozy out of it as Kurt Sanders wrote previously on The Slice. But this isn’t about saying “we’re here to help”, this is about putting pen to paper and genuinely helping – not the mass, but the few that matter.
As the dust settles and workforces get in the swing of work from home, employees, managers and leaders are recognising the benefits and deficits of this new working arrangement.
Many are questioning our need to return to the office. Many are wondering why their systems couldn’t go remote quicker. And almost everyone is wanting to know how to engage their teams remotely.
And the advice for these questions isn’t one-size-fits all. It’s industry specific. And in many cases it’s even more niche than that.
The companies that encourage their employees to step up and answer these questions, either for their own workforce or their customer bases and related industries, will get a free kick for brand awareness and brand loyalty in the best way possible.
The benefits of publishing thought leadership
Publishing comms on your personal and professional platforms (such as your company’s website blog or your own LinkedIn page) is beneficial for a number of reasons. At this time in particular it’s an opportunity to engage your dispersed team, give your brand a boost and stay front of mind with your customer in a help not hype manner, and importantly, give yourself a boost.
The last point is especially interesting right now, as we can expect loyalty to companies and competition for jobs to increase after the COVID-19 crisis. Writing opinion pieces shows your ability to communicate effectively, your ability to write (don’t underestimate the importance of this), your ability to lead and think critically, and it puts your expertise in the spotlight.
Think you’ve missed the boat? This is just the beginning.
The COVID-19 conversation until now has been focused on the current, rather than the recovery. Many are assuming the world will quickly return to its previous state. And with inner-city office space to fill, disengaged employees and customers dropping off left right and centre, I don’t blame them.
But the fact is that if this did expose a huge gap in your tech, systems, ability to go remote and staff engagement levels, you’ve just scratched the surface of a much deeper issue. The on-flow of this and the future of our workforces are yet to be discovered.
You don’t have to claim to know everything, you just need to start filling the gaps. Take your knowledge area, cross it with the current climate and the issues you know your industry is facing, and start answering.
If you see a manager in your organisation doing a great job at engaging their team or creating new processes or procedures, get them to write about it. Got an idea about the future of work for your industry? Publish it.
How to get a thought leadership program set up in your team
To get everyone on board, first establish the benefits for your employees and your brand. Communicate the purpose of the program and clearly define the do’s and don’ts, and procedures for submitting or publishing thought leadership articles.
If you’re in an industry with high risk in compliance and confidentiality, identify what topics your workforce should and should not comment on.
You can centralise the content workflow through a comms or marketing officer who can check for sensitivities before publishing.
Just because your industry is private and confidential, doesn’t mean thought leadership is off the cards. Ie. Your manager’s take on leading during a crisis is not related to client activities nor company or government spending.
Whether it’s internal or external, giving your workforce a platform for their expertise and opinions doesn’t have to be a huge risk.
You can publish on your own internal comms systems or get them to publish on their own personal channels. Simply put – it can be as safe or risky as you want it to be.
Some companies even reward their workforce for submitting thought leadership articles. Some include it as part of their KPIs.
Ready to get started? Read more about setting up a thought leadership program for your company here.