We are almost one year into the Covid-19 pandemic, during which our society has constantly been tested and challenged. No industry has been spared: all organizations, big or small, were forced to adapt to new realities. A common thread across all companies has been the importance of employee engagement, which cannot exist without a smooth and robust internal communication plan.

For our French neighbours, the new year was marked by a wave of online complaints exposing appalling working conditions. First to condemn these working conditions was the Instagram account @balancetastartup, whose goal is to “expose the misconduct of the start-up nation”, be it their dodgy commercial practices, their fake marketing spiel or even their employees’ unethical treatment.

On Tuesday 19 January 2021, this account shared various Instagram stories with testimonies from ex-employees of the Paris-born, “made in France” jewel company Lou Yetu, founded in 2015. The stories condemned the appalling working conditions as well as its misleading marketing and craftmanship which is all but “made in France”. A dramatic downfall soon followed. The account, which counted more than 620.000 followers, lost roughly 42.000 followers in less than a week according to Social Blade. This even led to the temporary closing of the jewelry boutique and the founder deleting her private Instagram account. The online platform which launched Lou Yetu’s success, might also cause its downfall.

These events are textbook examples of the volatility and instability that are constantly shaking today’s businesses. More importantly, this also highlights how consumers are more mindful of employees’ well-being and their working conditions. However, this is not a new phenomenon – one need only think of the many scandals in manufacturing plants with substandard working conditions haunting major brands. Yet, these type of events have intensified and become more widespread.

The @balancetastartup account is far from being the only account exposing abusive company practices. Various other Instagram accounts have used similar tactics to attack consultancy firms, editors and various other sectors.

Your employees are your best allies

In Belgium too, caution should be exercised as Belgian employees rate their well-being at work at a mere 6,34/10 according to a joint study by the University of Ghent and NN. Yet, it is no secret that well-being at work has a direct influence on employees’ productivity…

As serial entrepreneur Richard Branson said : ”Employees should come first, not the clients. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”. In other words, your employees are your company’s best ambassadors, but if you do not value them enough, they can be your company’s downfall.

There are many reasons why investing in your employees’ well-being is crucial. Satisfied employees are more productive, offer better quality work, work better in teams, are less absent, are more likely to stay with their employer and, above all, have the best selling points.

Moreover, strong internal communication is an important cornerstone of a company’s strategic communication. Ideally, this one should be in line with the external communication and should adopt a horizontal approach, actively involving employees from all levels. Create an open dialogue with your employees, measure their perception and expectations and build together tomorrow’s internal communication plan.

With COVID-19 running overtime, it is key to make alliances with your most important asset: your employees.


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