Treat Your Employees Like Customers
Ever been in a situation where your new initiative seemed destined for success, only to find it fall flat?
Companies spend countless dollars and hours crunching the data, perfecting the strategy and developing a revolutionary marketing campaign. But when it comes to communicating new initiatives and important information to employees, they don’t put in the same effort.
The common internal communications plan involves throwing together a few slides at the last minute and hoping for the best.
Any business understands the benefits of branded marketing to attract and retain customers, but many still fail to create internal communications and employee training that are as impressive as their external marketing efforts.
The Harvard Business Review calls internal marketing, “the best way to help employees make a powerful emotional connection to the products and services you sell. Without that connection, employees are likely to undermine the expectations set by your advertising.”
If you’re struggling to find a way to upgrade your workforce, take a look at the way you communicate new information to them. The obvious benefits include improved morale and performance from employees, but too often companies push aside internal branding for various reasons: no time, too expensive, other priorities. So instead, bland and uninspired communications and training get rushed out.
Maintaining the Engine of Your Company
Your employees are your brand’s most effective advocates. Focusing on them is the difference between covering up a potential problem and solving a problem from the inside out before it happens.
If you’re not shaping the content to your employees, and instead hoping your employees will adjust to fit the content, you’ll fail.
If you’re throwing your logo in the corner of a PowerPoint and saying that’s good enough, you’ll never get more than good enough from your employees.
If the information you’re disseminating to your employees isn’t important enough to require thoughtful design and interactions that fit your brand, then it’s not important to your employees.
How Great Internal Marketing Inspires Great Employees
Let’s play with some points made in Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” and apply it to your business’ internal communications and training.
“Your employees are your brand. If they bleed the brand, they become a powerful extension of your marketing efforts.”
How do you manage that? It starts with taking your internal branding seriously. You hurt your external marketing when your own employees don’t believe in–and can’t deliver on–the promises you make to consumers. But if you put forth the same amount of effort for your employees as you do your marketing efforts, you’ll get a workforce that goes above and beyond and buys into your company’s culture.
“When we communicate from the outside in, yes people can understand vast amounts of complicated information… It just doesn’t drive behavior. But when we communicate from the inside out, we’re talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior.”
This is backed by brain science. The part of your brain that controls decision making and not language is called the limbic brain. Look at your employees as your company’s limbic brain.
They decide whether they are going to smile at a customer when they walk in. They decide whether they are going to follow the new process for taking customer calls. So you better speak to them in a way that engages them. Speak to them in a way that shows you actually care about them.
“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
Or put it this way, employees don’t work hard because of what you sell. They work hard because they believe in why the company is selling. And that means more than making money.
Imagine you run a company that sells floor cleaner and you want your employees to learn the details of the new active ingredient that kills 99% of germs. Sure, that’s a nice feature. They should know that, but the science behind the active ingredient won’t inspire them to sell floor cleaner.
You should make your training engaging by telling a story that fits your brand. You could package your internal messaging around how the new active ingredient makes cleaning the floor easier and faster, so mom and dad can spend more time doing what’s important, being a family.
Fix Your Problems From the Inside Out
Your company could be more than a place where unenthused employees show up everyday to get a paycheck. You just need to dedicate yourself to making your internal communications and training more of a priority. And once you start making efforts for even the smallest internal communications, that idea of putting your all into everything you do will spread to employees and eventually becomes a part of your company’s culture.
Get your employees to believe what you believe, and the benefits will touch every part of your business. This keeps your workforce engaged, improves employee retention and effort. This is how you create a culture in your business where your employees advocate for your brand with the most effective form of advertising, word of mouth.
That means putting more effort into your internal communications and training. Take what is perceived as an important yet boring aspect of your business, and create something that epitomizes your brand.
Not Sure Where to Start? Try This.
Not sure if you are doing enough with your internal communications? Here’s a way to gauge and learn from your employees on how to improve your internal communications and training:
Ask team members at every level what their favorite marketing campaigns are and why they are effective. Then brainstorm ideas on how your company could try using similar tactics with your internal communications and training. Let us know if you learned anything or implemented any new strategies after doing this exercise.
Illustration by Kyle Davila, Senior Art Director at Mindspace.