Why don't organisations encourage their employees to communicate?

I’m a little baffled by companies and other organisations that invest heavily in finding, hiring and keeping really talented people, but then won’t let them communicate to the outside world as representatives of their organisation. It’s a real loss, as happy and clever employees are potentially an organisation’s best ambassadors, especially at a time when: a)  people trust communication from “someone like me” a lot more than anything else, in particular the communications which these same organisations invest heavily in (brochures, website content, TV ads, press releases et al); and b) online tools are widely available for people to create content themselves easily, quickly and for free.

What’s the excuse? Usually something about complex approval processes, concerns over the type of content that might be produced, and a fear of backlash. In truth I think what it’s really about is resistance to change and getting your head around the fact that communication can be effective even if it’s not pristine and checked by 22 departments.

Things are changing though: companies like Sun Microsystems and IBM are showcasing their employees’ blogs with pride, and more are hopping on the bandwagon every day.


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