Google and the EU: A Lesson on Internal Communications During a Crisis
After five years of investigations, the European Union (EU) has charged Google with violating antitrust rules. It’s the belief of the EU that Google has an unfair advantage over competition because of its digital dominance. This is in reference to Google’s comparison shopping product in the European Economic Area (EEA). In a separate investigation, the EU questions Google’s dominance over OS systems, especially with regard to Android. In response to the charges, Google sent out an internal memo to its employees, explaining how it intends to respond to the charges and to reassure its employees that it’s ready for the looming crisis.
Employees are one of the most important publics an organization has, but unfortunately, they’re also the most overlooked. A crisis can be a period of chaos and uncertainty: Companies are scrambling to pacify their stakeholders while trying to salvage what’s left of their reputation. It’s easy to forget about the employees, those whose job security depends on how well the company handles the crisis. Arthur Page, regarded as the father of modern public relations, urges brands to “Realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people.” In other words, how you treat your employees says a lot about who you are as a company.
With this memo, Google has eased the concerns of its employees while also making ambassadors out of them. Google’s employees are assured that their company isn’t taking the accusations lying down and has a plan to fight them. Even better, the employees are now better equipped to defend their organization to their social groups should the need arise. Ultimately, Google has dissuaded its employees from jumping ship during this period of uncertainty.
Brands can learn an important lesson about effective internal communication during a crisis from Google. When faced with a crisis and unsure of how to communicate with their employees, brands should ask themselves, “What would Google Do”?
What do you think about Google’s internal memo to its employees? Tell us about it in the comment section or tweet me @mo_yeen.