The people who make up a company are the face of that organization. Far too often, only members of the executive team receive formal training to ensure that they convey the core values. The rest of the rank and file will wing it when asked about the company’s mission and culture. Most employees are non-executives. That means that most employees are presenting a view of the company that may not be in line with the brand. This is a big problem and one that can be remedied with robust training for everyone, at all levels of the organization. Here are the key areas of focus that can help ensure that everyone is on the same page:
Interviewing. Most managers haven’t been trained in interview techniques, and most of them are not very good at interviewing. A bad hire can have significant cost, both in real dollars and in productivity, so it is wise to train hiring managers in effective interviewing techniques. These will include what types of questions to ask, what questions NOT to ask, and how to ensure that hiring managers send a consistent message to the candidate pool aligned line with corporate values.
Presentation skills. Chances are that employees across your organization are going out and delivering presentations that are boring, tedious, and time-wasting. Formal training in presentation skills can help your team to avoid common pitfalls when presenting, and assist them to stay on message. Another thing that presentation training can help with is cutting down on the volume of slides people use. Slides are supposed to be a visual aid, not the presentation itself.
Media. This is absolutely critical, and its importance cannot be overstated. Media training helps not only to define the key messages you want to put out to the world, but it also teaches people how to respond to questions that might be pointed, uncomfortable, or even accusatory. Media training gives people the skills to deliver information in ways that convey salient points. It also teaches spokespeople how to appropriately interact with the media, and how to package information into media-friendly sound bites. It can be devastating to any company to receive bad press. You don’t want any of your employees winging it with the media, ever.
Elevator pitch. Do an informal poll of your coworkers and ask them to take 30 seconds to describe what it is your company does. The responses will be all over the place, and while they will all be technically accurate, they won’t all be on message with your brand. Get everyone on message by making sure all employees can clearly and succinctly articulate the company’s mission, purpose, and values.
The Bottom Line
Considering the enormous potential cost associated with being off-message, make the upfront investment in training, which will ensure your company’s brand and it’s most valuable resources (the people) realized positive performance and success.