Most business leaders will say (publicly at least), that their employees are their most valuable assets. They’ll preach that good internal communications are vital for success. Unless your workforce consists entirely of robots (in which case, congratulations, you can stop reading this now) you need more than warm words, you need a plan. At Juice, we are comms content makers with opinions. As a business, we really try to get rid of the stigma that’s often associated with internal comms. Sounds simple enough…
The dilemma that many organisations run into is that often the content, and the way that it gets communicated, comes across as dull, generic lip service rather than being genuinely engaging. Too few organisations have truly succeeded in connecting deeply with their people and hence miss out on the added commitment, motivation and productivity that inspired employees to deliver and radiate.
That being said, developing a successful strategy is challenging. Employees are often sceptical of the formal ‘propaganda’ pumped in their direction. On top of this, as working practices change, employees are more widely dispersed than ever before.
Good internal comms aren’t common, but with the right approach, it can be a piece of cake (something we are known for by the way).
Care for those inside as much as those outside
All organisations surely view their customers as important because, well, they are. Our very simple opinion is that the people within an organisation deserve the same care and attention as the customers they serve.
Marketers work tirelessly on research, campaign planning, channel selection and content that will win over the hearts and minds of their target audiences. Why not apply the same discipline, strategic thinking and some real imagination when communicating internally?
You can involve all employees, wherever they’re based, with consistent, well thought out messaging while factoring in language and cultural differences. Easy enough to promise but check out KIWI, our mobile-up communications platform, created specifically for organisations to communicate with a dispersed workforce.
Or take BMW LaunchPad, our platform for BMW’s retailer network, another smart and easily accessible way of delivering fast and varied information, helping better-informed employees deliver an improved sales experience to the customer.
See, you can make your cake and deliver it too.
Now, apply these very clear rules to your employees. Invest time and real thought to your internal communications and you can achieve similarly deep connections, which will, in turn, increase loyalty (there are gerzillions of academic studies that prove it – as well as useful links like this one).
For the best results, mix internal and external content
Organisations spend plenty of time and effort planning and developing content for specific audiences and channels. But people, whether employees, customers or that guy with the full head tattoo who runs along the A40 shouting at cars (yes, he is real), will only give their time to genuinely interesting (or funny) stuff.
So be smart: produce less content (more noise is so rarely better or more effective) and make sure it tells the best stories you have that are relevant and inspiring to everyone connected with your organisation. They are there, believe me.
We were lucky enough to work with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts to produce ‘The Future of Local’, a beautiful and multi-award-winning film, along with a dedicated website, sharing the film with both internal and external audiences.
The result? A truly inspired workforce and 2.3 million TED conversations worldwide.
With this thinking, we’ve also been able to help BP generate exceptional levels of engagement through animation with what might normally be considered dry content – like a Rich Tea. Yuk. Even when dunked.
And through our approach, teams at Legal & General now have a new level of understanding and respect for the genuine issues their customers are dealing with.
We’re not talking megabucks
Great comms aren’t dependent on money. They’re based on a real understanding of people and driven by ideas that change the way people think, feel and act.
So, working on the basis that you probably know a lot about your own people already, go and champion an imaginative idea and really take care producing and delivering great content. You would be surprised by the number of people who do one or the other but not both…sigh…
And with that – we’d like to ask you to be brave and think differently
Many internal comms campaigns are based on what senior management think people need, or simply on tweaking what’s been done before. You know these campaigns – universal waffly messaging that more often than not miss the target – and often has the opposite of the desired effect. Don’t do this, please. Resist the temptation to follow: be bold and creative.
As comms people that’s what we’re paid to do, right?
So, we say seize this opportunity to attract and retain the best employees, inspiring higher levels of enthusiasm and productivity in the process. Encourage involvement, empower staff, act on their feedback and, when all’s said and done, take a look at your staff turnover and sick days – you’re going to like what you see. And ignore the doomsayers who claim staff shouldn’t eat cake. Just make sure it’s great cake, brilliantly delivered.
If you would like to add a bit of Juice to your 2017 communications programme, then feel free to drop us a line.