David Armano is the Global Strategy Director at Edelman where he focuses on helping companies navigate digital transformation. And, yes, that means educating clients on new technology. But he said companies are underestimating an even larger cultural shift.
“There has been an inversion in trust,” Armano explained. “Employees, consumers and customers really have the power now, and organizations are grappling with those shifts. It really affects how people trust brands and how employees trust their companies.”
Armano’s firm is well-known globally for the Edelman Trust Barometer, and the 2018 survey revealed the largest-ever drop in trust levels in the United States. But while Edelman found “a staggering lack of faith in government” as well as institutions such as businesses and the media, people still tend to trust other people.
That’s why, Armano said, smart organizations are creating richer, deeper relationships with their employees through better communication and engagement strategies.
“Companies that are very focused on the customer experience are not surprisingly also focused on the employee experience,” he said. “There’s a direct correlation.”
Today, employees have a greater ability to become ambassadors for their companies. Information shared by a person has more credibility than something that comes from a brand, Armano said. So, it’s important for companies to enable employees to share quality, accurate and authentic information with the digital world.
“Our perspective at Edelman is that an informed workforce is an engaged workforce,” Armano added. “Emerging technologies really are changing how employees engage with each other and share with others.”
Here’s more from Armano, who is one of the industry experts featured in The Definitive Guide to Employee Communication and Engagement.
Q: Why is good communication important?
A: “People are seeing and being exposed to more. And those people are your employees. You have to be transparent with them. When you’re sharing more information with them, you’re actually going to be sharing more information to people in the outside world. There’s less risk and greater reward when you’re making sure accurate information gets to your employees.”
Q: Does good communication help a company perform better financially?
A: “A front-line employee who feels good about the company and feels connected is going to affect the customer experience in a positive way. That directly tracks to improved productivity for the company. Employees who feel strong connections to a company also are the ones who tend to vocalize great things about the organization. The goal should always be getting employees more engaged, more connected and just making them feel better about the company.”
Q: And poor communication?
A: “If you look at companies that have problems and aren’t being very transparent, they’re not in as good as shape as they could be. They take a hit and in some cases their growth is slowed. The new reality is your reputation affects your valuation of the company. There is an impact.”
Q: Is it hard for communicators to cut through the noise?
A: “Yes, and that’s why it requires a lot of forethought when adding a new technology. You need to make employees understand that they will be empowered when previously they were disconnected. Employees are inundated with information. When you’re evaluating new technologies, put a lot of care into ensuring there is more value than what you currently use.”
Want to learn more about how emerging communication technology is empowering employees and transforming organizations? Download The Definitive Guide to Employee Communication and Engagement to learn more.