How Your Employees Can Supercharge Your PR Efforts

Should You Hire a PR Agency?
October 6, 2017

"R emember that job that slowly sucked the life out of you and has the ability to still trigger spontaneous anxiety? While a well-treated employee is more likely to spread the word about the organization, a poorly treated employee has the potential to damage the reputation of the company. The internal perception of an organization from the perspective of the employee is often overlooked by managers.


Imagine a workplace where employees determine their own hours, set their own salaries, choose their managers and are given the autonomy to solve problems the way they see fit. This concept, known as participative management, corporate democracy or “the company as a village”, is the way of life for employees at Semco, a Brazilian industrial machinery manufacturing company. The business is run on the premise that if workers know the organization’s objectives, then they will use their common sense to decide how to achieve these objectives. All information, including salaries and financial statements, is public.

This employee utopia was created by Ricardo Semler, Semco’s CEO and president, as a solution to worsening employee relations, employee unhappiness and Semler’s deteriorating health due to overwork (Semler, 2014). The result of this way of business is consistent revenue growth year-after-year despite political and economic turbulence in Brazil. With information so transparent, employees are more adaptable to change. Turnover is low at Semco and job positions are in high demand (Semler, 2014). From a PR standpoint, as a consequence of happy employees, Semler and Semco continue to receive notable press around the world and Semler’s books “Maverick” and “The Seven-Day Weekend” are best sellers.


For Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal – a now bankrupt clothing retailer, PR in the form of her memoir “#Girlboss” has positioned herself as the entrepreneur leader for millennial girls and women. From the outside, as the popularity of the hashtag #girlboss grew on social media, Nasty Gal looked like a champion of creativity and woman power; however, from the inside, things were quickly unraveling. The company was sued in 2016 for allegedly firing several pregnant employees. “It’s so ironic to see how much of the world has been drinking the #girlboss Kool-Aid. The actual environment at NG couldn’t be any more different from what Sophia portrays to the world”, says a former Nasty Gal employee (Merlan, 2016). To further illustrate this negative internal perception at Nasty Gal, here’s just one example of a Glassdoor review of the company: “Unskilled high and mid-level leadership. The company lost sight of the customer and core brand vision. A lot of employee turmoil causing poor culture. The brand and company mission [have] lost [their] way” (Nasty Gal Reviews).


You and your employees are the face of the company and as the head of your organization, it is your job to purposely create and reinforce consistent messaging. Here are four questions you should answer to assess your efforts:

1. Do you have a mission and vision that actually means something and memorable?

A mission and vision should be simple, easy to understand and have a clear purpose that incites action.

2. How do you recruit your employees?

Bias, shallow judgments or discrimination during the employee recruitment process can lead to fewer job applicants and damage of the firm’s reputation. Determine ahead of time what a fair recruitment process looks like and how best to implement it.

3. How do your employees communicate with each other?

Wouldn’t you prefer an environment where managers weren’t allowed to yell, name call or rebuke others? Communication through memos, phone calls, emails and face-to-face interactions should encourage openness, professionalism and courtesy.

4. What does the physical appearance of you and your employees tell the world about your company?

A jeans and t-shirt employee dress code, for example, implies a laid back atmosphere. How do you want your employees to dress? Casual? Business casual? Party attire? What image do you want to portray from your chosen dress code?