We’ve all heard the clichés: loving yourself is true happiness. If you can’t love yourself, how can you love anyone else?
And with a brand, this rings even truer. Especially as belts tighten and competition is even fiercer across every sector, if your own staff don’t love you, why would anyone else?
The current flurry of internal communications roles in organisations of all sizes seems to point an awakening of the importance of internal communications and a healthy level of company love. So you would expect to see amazing innovation in the world of internal communications wouldn’t you?
Sadly not so much.
As a marketing and communications specialist who has worked in large organisations with complex internal communications programmes, I am still astounded at how basic it can often be. What is considered essential to any external campaign – creativity, strong strategy and marketing savvy – seems to disappear when the word ‘internal’ swaps for ‘external’.
- ‘We don’t have the budget’
- ‘Our customers are our focus: they pay the bills’
- ‘Our staff know who we are: they already work for us so why do we need to convince them?’
- ‘We try things but they don’t work. People just want to get on with their job.’
- ‘We just need to ensure our staff get the facts they need and are on message.’
- ‘We don’t have time.’
Hmmm, all very valid, on the one hand, but think about it. Your best ambassadors and assets are your staff. They breathe life into your brand. They bring innovation to your products.
And importantly, they really do sell your brand. It’s a bit of a cliché but it is in fact very true. It’s often the personal relationships between your staff and your clients that keeps clients returning – not necessarily what you see as the product USP.
A Towers Watson report, ‘Capitalising on Effective Communication 2009/2010’ proves just how true that is, discovering that the better employee communications a company has, the better its financial performance. Here are the key findings from that report:
- Effective employee communication is a leading indicator of financial performance and a driver of employee engagement. Companies that are highly effective communicators had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that are the least effective communicators.
- Despite all of the organizational and benefit changes employers have been making in response to challenging economic conditions, only 14% of the survey participants are explaining the terms of the new employee value proposition (EVP) to their employees.
- The best invest in helping leaders and managers communicate with employees. While only three out of 10 organizations are training managers to deal openly with resistance to change, highly effective communicators are more than three times as likely to do this as the least effective communicators.
- Despite the increased use of social media, companies are still struggling to measure the return on their investment in these tools. Highly effective communicators are more likely than the least effective communicators to report their social media tools are cost-effective (37% vs. 14%).
- Measurement is critical. Companies that are less-effective communicators are three times as likely as highly effective communicators to report having no formal measurements of communication effectiveness.
So how do you make internal communications really work and go beyond the paltry staff survey?
- Invest in ROI just like you would for an external campaign.
- Don’t bore them
- Get real involvement
- Take it seriously
Investing in internal communications is money well spent. Just make sure you don’t become lazy or fall out of love with your own company!