Over the last couple of months I’ve observed some serious PR disasters related to negligence by an employee. In some cases, it resulted in customer backlash via social media; in others, tragic accidents cost people their lives. None of this is new but what I have noticed is a surge in companies playing the blame game.
In some instances companies have turned their backs on the employees ultimately responsible for the situation, simply for the sake of keeping a good face in front of the press. I personally despise companies that tout their team culture until something tragic happens, and then it’s off to blame the individual. It looks ugly from a public relations standpoint and even more-so, morally wrong.
Have we forgotten about the system of accountability? Create a strategy to avoid the ugly blame game.
- Employee hierarchy trees are a great way to always know who is in charge of whom and what.
- More important than the title – identifying and documenting in detail every employee’s responsibilities will ensure everyone understands what they are liable for.
- Meetings should have an agenda and focus around updates and ideas. Try not to get too carried away on the minor details. That’s what followups are for.
- An open line of communication is key. Employees should feel empowered to report anything they deem questionable. Acknowledge and reward them for their discoveries!
- When mistakes happen, find appropriate measures of discipline but avoid publicizing those responsible.
For larger organizations with a more prominent presence, public relation teams should utilize a strategy that:
- Acknowledges the mistake from a company-wide standpoint
- Acts quickly and diligently to take care of those affected
- Identifies the lessons learned via a company wide newsletter, press release, company blog posting, etc.
- And protect the employees responsible from unintended exposure.
A team that wins together, falls together. While the media, and society, will always strive to find someone to point the finger at – we have to remember that it takes more than one person to fly an airplane, a train to operate and a government to function.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.