When we hear about marketing, we generally think of brand marketing for a product or a person. After all, personal brands are our calling card in the age of social media. But in organizations, internal marketing to employees can make or break efforts to create a high-performance work environment and attract top talent. Unfortunately, many companies fail to see the value, or purpose, of marketing to their employees. Today’s blog will focus in those areas, and give some helpful tips on how you can get started.
What is “Marketing to your Employees”?
Employee Marketing is all about improving employees’ experiences. Because company culture is your employee’s experience of your organization, and engagement is how they respond to it. So, whether you have an internal Organizational Development team who can help you, or you engage your marketing team or a consultant like The Hire, internal marketing is not a “nice to have.”
Reason 1: Your employees deal with your customers more than you do!
Let’s face it leaders, how often do you deal with clients? The higher up you go in most organizations, the farther you are from the end customer. In general, the employees paid the least, with the least access to information, are the closest to your customers. And a disappointing experience here can cost you a customer forever.
Front-line EmployeesCustomer Care Specialists“The Floor”Retail AssociatesCare Managers
In this way, to those customers, your employees ARE your brand. With that in mind consider - how confident are you that they understand, embody, and communicate that brand in a meaningful way? Companies that fail to provide internal communications about their marketing efforts often fail to deliver on what they are promising their customers.
- Create a low key “paper” campaign with posters, handouts, or other items inexpensively produced and distributed.
- Have group meetings to generate buzz and excitement (live or virtual)
- Use digital communications like email, your intranet, or any other “social” network the company leverages to share content, samples, video, eLearning… the possibilities are endless!
Reason 2: Attracting & retaining the right people is essential for success
The first thing most job candidates do after being contacted by a perspective employer is look up, online, what people say about that employer. Thank Glassdoor for a ton more transparency in this process, and don't forget Reddit and the other industry specific sites that rate and rank employers. There is no where to hide. If an employer gets enough “bad press” they will likely not get top tier applicants.
But, a determined and people-centered organization can leverage the same channels for good, through employee advocacy. When your employees are engaged with your brand it makes your company more attractive to your customers. So, if your brand is strong enough, it will naturally attract the type of employees you want to work with.
- Create a mentor program that allows people to grow with your company while learning more about the business.
- Offer meaningful development opportunities. Employees need to be intellectually stimulated in order to grow.
- Open two-way conversations for brand improvement by allowing employees to regularly voice their suggestions and concerns about the company and its internal processes – and acknowledge and act on suggestions when possible.
Reason 3: Its good for the bottom line
Satisfied Employees will positively impact the bottom line as a study by the University of Tennessee showed in 2015. They found that companies with a higher score for employee friendliness (EF) achieved better financial results than peers with lower ratings. This includes higher sales, lower expenses, and increased innovation as measured by number of patents filed.
- Keep your teams tight with off-site activities that reinforce your brand and allow employees to take the perspective of the customer of your products and services.
- Comment, share, and support ALL employees via professional, social media
- If you want to attract purpose-driven candidates you must prioritize social responsibility. Horizon Media’s Finger on the Pulse study shows that 81% of Millennials expect companies to be good corporate citizens
Flip for facts from the ‘Happiness and Productivity’ report by Andrew J Oswald, Eugenio Proto and Daniel Sgroi.
Professor Oswald: “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen by 37%, they know what they are talking about.”
Dr. Sgroi: “The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”
Dr. Proto: “We have shown that happier subjects are more productive... in four different experiments. This research will provide some guidance for management... to make their workplaces emotionally healthy for their workforce.”
For more see the full report.
Marketing internally is not about pretty pictures, brochures, or cool intranets. It's about addressing the needs and wants of the individuals in your organization. Remember, the Golden Rule is obsolete - what you want in life is not likely what fires your Team member up! That's why we advocate The Platinum Rule – treat people how they want to be treated. That means talking to them. Learning about their goals and desires. If you do that your employees will be your best advocates, and will help you build the most effective teams.
Lisa Crockett is a leader and professional development coach with more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources, Learning, and Performance. To learn more about her professional career visit her on LinkedIn.