The world has become competitive, it is not just about competing to get the consumer’s share of attention and wallet, but the competition is also about getting the best talent to join you and help you to get and remain ahead of competition by creating incredible value for the customers. Thus investing in employees and nurturing them to become impeccable leaders is extremely important and must be a part of your people strategy.
PR has catapulted trust and authenticity about the brand among consumers. PR as we know it, is primarily about addressing creating and maintaining brand image with the stakeholders external to the organizations, however if strategically applied then PR with internal stakeholders specially employees can really go a long way in building a strong people organization.
Internal PR is that part of the PR discipline which concentrates on enhancing a company’s relationships with the employees; and when it comes to internal PR, the “public” is an organization’s employees. This is where I believe changes can be ushered in. Especially in the area of enhancing employee quality, so that they can evolve into leaders that an organization needs, instead of employing talent from outside.
I believe leadership training boosts employee engagement. Globally, organizations are struggling with the reality of developing their leadership strength.
According to Global Leadership Forecast 2018 by Development Dimensions International, the top 3 challenges organizations face are:*
- Developing “Next Gen Leaders”
- Failure to attract/retain top talent
- New Competitors Globally
Clearly the top 2 challenges recognized by over 1000 organizations is of human capital to develop leadership and to attract & retain talent.
However what’s beyond this reckoning? The question is – are organizations committed to investing in their future leaders? Smaller companies may be able to trigger a good leadership development strategy – to develop leaders from within.
Develop your employees to be leaders. Employees are often the best brand ambassadors, and are especially effective when they clearly understand and can communicate their organization’s business goals. Some suggestions on how to achieve this:
Job rotation: Give the chosen employees first-hand experience by rotating them through different roles within the organization. Thus by challenging, pushing and stretching their skill levels, they can get exposure to new skills and expand their expertise.
Align their goals with company’s mission: Employees are highly motivated when they can align their work with their company’s larger goals. It gives them ownership and helps them support organizational causes with more purpose.
Give them purpose: Giving purpose will further motivate them to excel. When you provide training and mentoring opportunities, they will be aligned to the organizational mission.
Networking: Networking will teach them how to forge connections, which are key skills for leaders at any level. So, it’s important to teach employees how to effectively network. They can start with company events and they can move to community and industry-wide events. When they move into leadership roles, they’ll already have valuable contacts, plus the people skills needed to succeed.
Create an ownership mentality: Most importantly, you can train people in leadership, but they won’t use those skills unless they feel like trusted and valued part of the company. Creating an ownership mentality starts with trusting your employees. When you make your employees feel like an integral part of the company, they will naturally rise to the occasion and emerge as leaders.
Finally, becoming a skilled leader is important and here, application and practice are key. A striking example is Mr Natarajan Chandrasekaran, the chairman of Tata Sons who moved up the ladder. He was CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) prior to which he was COO and executive director of TCS. He is one of the youngest CEOs within the Tata Group.
Chosen employees can become leaders by applying their learning and knowledge and adding experience to their work life. The first step is to lay down the path for employees to learn, grow, develop and succeed. And, no external talent will be required!
She has spent 15 years managing public relations, working both on the agency side as well as on the brand side. As a PR professional she has worked with some of the largest brands in India. She has hands on experience in both strategy and execution across media channels such as news, social media, blogs and other new media channels covering industry influencers, journalists and media professionals. Her core specialities are in establishing brand image and crisis management. She is a keen industry observer and shares her thoughts on Twitter @yashmeenb.