Communicating with your staff should be part of your marketing strategy. It motivates, creates a team environment and closes the rumour mill.
Whatever your size, this applies where staff come into direct contact with stakeholders. These 8 points will help you in creating an effective internal communications strategy.
1. Communicate continuously, not only when there are important policy notices to be sent out. That way when major issues occur, the lines of communication will already be open.
2. Use technology. Marketers have seen the emergence of a plethora of technologies that can help employers communicate with their staff. These include email, PDA’s, MSN and pop-up alert systems, video streaming plus all the social media channels.
3. Don’t use jargon. Guy Walshingham, MD at Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, a business writing consultancy, says, “The language you use to communicate with your employees sends out clear messages about you as an organisation. Your company handbook, intranet, even your recruitment ads, all shout out what you stand for as a business. Communicating well through them will help create a healthy and happy company culture. So be careful what, and how, you write.”
4. The basics of good business writing should also not be overlooked. “Avoid spelling mistakes and typos. Make your writing clear, to the point, relevant and engaging to the reader. Avoid jargon. Most business writing can be cut virtually in half and say the same thing. Often the best advice is to write it as you’d say it.”
5. Give it to the best communicator. Internal communications is one of those areas of business activity, like corporate social responsibility, that tends to fall between several departments. Avoid departmental arguments by nominating your best communicator or using outside assistance.
6. Encourage a two-way dialogue. Give your employees the opportunity to give their feedback or ask questions otherwise they will feel that their point of view is of no importance and will consequently lead to lower morale and productivity. Popular formats for this can include question and answer sessions, staff forums or surveys.
7. Remember the internal aspect of external marketing. Amy Grundy, board account director at Intelligent Marketing says, “Imagine you’ve spent thousands of pounds on a national advertising campaign promoting your brand. The response is amazing with customers flooding into your stores find out more. Unfortunately they’re greeted by a member of staff who has no idea about the campaign, cannot answer any of the enquiries and is unenthusiastic. The bubble bursts and the excitement dies.”
She continues, “There is no point promoting an external message without getting buy-in from the inside first. Your staff are the best brand advocates you could have, so you need to get them on side. Allocate sufficient budget to communicating with your internal audience. It’s probably your most important audience so it’s foolish to see such communications as a waste of money. More importantly, the big budget spent on a high profile ad campaign could well be wasted if customer-facing employees don’t know about it.”
8. Keep it simple. Paul Sweetman of Fishburn Hedges advises businesses to keep it simple. He says, “Effective internal communication is a pre-requisite for sustained business success. During times of change it can smooth the process and help deliver the required change more quickly and with a greater degree of employee commitment. However, it is most effective when it is based around simple processes and not over-complicated.”
David Hassell - DLH Marketing
David has worked in advertising and marketing services for 30 years both client and agency side. Having worked with local, national and muliti-national clients, he set up DLH Marketing to help small organisations, owner managed businesses and those organisations without in-house marketing.