When developing a strategic communications plan, one of the first items on your to-do list should be to identify your stakeholder universe.
This is comprised of all individuals or groups that have an interest or concern in your ministry, ranging from internal audiences, such as your donors and board members, to external audiences, including the media.
Your employees are also a critical segment among your stakeholders. Not only are they key recipients of the information that your organization disseminates, but when well equipped, they can be your greatest ambassadors both online and offline. Who better to affirm your credibility, showcase the work you’re doing and testify to your commitment to advancing the Kingdom of God than those men and women who work alongside you.
But in order to equip your employees to be ambassadors for your ministry, it’s key that you:
- Keep them informed in a way that makes them feel like they are partners in your mission.
- Adopt a policy of transparency, promoting open and honest communication among leaders, decision makers and employees.
- Create opportunities to highlight employees and their contributions through newsletters, press releases, your blog, and social media.
These measures create a sense of goodwill among your employees and should be formally written into your internal strategic communications plan. When your employees feel good about your ministry, they will want to share your good news with the world.
One area of internal communications that is often overlooked is how to deal with conflict in the workplace. Internal conflict can result in employees bad-mouthing your ministry to other stakeholders internally and externally, sharing negative posts on social media and job boards and taking other steps to discredit your ministry and tarnish your brand image.
As Christians, we are encouraged to deal with workplace conflict from a place of hope and faith. Abilene Christian University’s Online Master of Science in Organizational Development program recently created an infographic (below) on faith-based approaches to resolving workplace conflict. Adopting these conflict resolution techniques and strategies and incorporating them into your internal strategic communications plan and human resources plan can go a long way in cultivating a healthy workplace environment, maintaining the support of your employees, and ensuring that you can rely on your employees to be champions of your ministry.