In short - a lot!
Over the years, I've had the pleasure of working with a variety of companies ranging in industry focus and employees from 10 to 10,000. What I've learned is that while a great PR firm can create successful events, gain mass media attention and land a slew of new followers for you, our powers are only as effective as the clients' end product - and it's delivery.
There is nothing more frustrating to a PR firm than winning the hearts and attention of your desired consumer, only to have them lost by a poor end-user experience.
We've all been at the wrong end of customer service and here's the truth: It's a deal breaker.
So in that vein, would it not make sense to consider your staff and employees as an extension of your brand? To this I say, choose wisely.
With the internet amplifying the speed of feedback today, both positive and negative, social perception is public perception.
“There is only one truth - what customers and employees think about your brand. Not what you say about your brand.”
For many companies, your new staff (employees, managers, others) will be your first line of defense, they are the ones embodying and living our your core messages. Whether on the phone or directly engaging with customers or talking among themselves.
As a part of our Communications Plan process, Catalyst CC often includes STAFF as a primary audience and driver of your brand message. And they should be given the tools in order to know how to wield their power. This can look like everything from staff incentive programs, to interview questionnaires to phone scripts to Crisis and/or Media Training or company policies.
It is important for staff to fully understand your culture and embody the same principles you've worked so hard to achieve for your company.
Your brand attributes - your personality, should be reflected in those you hire and whom you will ultimately trust with your customer.
Finally, go beyond the typical interview questions when hiring new staff. Discover what the person loves, what they're good at, what motivates them. The ability to tap into the collective and unique knowledge of your employees could be an asset for your firm as well as a key driver for their production and motivation. Find out what they're good at and discover ways that your company can also benefit from this!
For another resource on how to tap into employee resources using social media read: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/16374.aspx