While organizations spend much time, effort and resources in perfecting their brand positioning in front of customers, it is as important to maintain a good brand image amongst one’s employees and staff. Among many other reasons, employer branding is necessary to attract and retain good talent.
A brand image is not just what you communicate to others, but how they talk of the brand among themselves. A strong brand will influence these conversations by drawing out an effective and clear internal communication strategy, which in turn can lead to many benefits for a brand, including increased turnover.
So, what is an internal communication strategy and why is it so important for a brand? A good internal communication plan defines the business goals for communicating with its internal stakeholders. It is aligned to the overall brand values and vision of the organization. A brand’s internal communication strategy should revolve around inviting and encouraging conversations among employees.
An effective employee engagement plan can lead to increased motivation, commitment and loyalty from staff. On the other hand, a poor or non-existent internal communication plan can lead to gossiping, frustration and reduced productivity among employees. Sprout Social, a social media management and optimization platform, suggests that productivity can increase by as much as 25% in organizations where employees are well connected with the brand.
A new trend in internal communication is the use of dynamic content, i.e. custom designed content. For example, showing a candidate job opportunities specific to their field and qualifications creates a personalized and lasting impression. Computer technology company, Dell uses dynamic content in the form of successful employees’ stories, by showcasing them internally.
Since a large part of today’s workforce comprises of millennials, it helps to consider what this generation values in its employer. In January of 2015, Forbes wrote, “62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. They expect brands to not only be on social networks, but to engage them.” Millennial employees too, want to engage with employers through social media. Dell uses social media very effectively to engage employees in conversations. Their Twitter account, “Life at Dell” (@CareersAtDell) has over 23k followers.
Employees these days also appreciate transparency. They want to be kept abreast of company news and appreciate frequent communication and updates from the leadership. Millennials want brands to be authentic and genuinely care. Starbucks’s Career Center promises candidates that they will be “more than an employee”, they will be a ‘partner’. They offer to help, engage and invest in their partners, so that together, they can “inspire and nurture the human spirit- one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
SnapComms, an internal communication software company, suggests a systematic process for an organization to define its internal communication strategy. They recommend undertaking internal research to understand the current pulse of the organization, creating a work group of employees that will draw out the strategy and defining outcome-focused objectives with clear success indicators.
Like any good process, internal brand communication can not be a one-time event. Organizations need a focused strategy to ensure that they constantly continue to drive communication, inspire employees, improve morale and increase engagement. A well-articulated Employee Value Proposition gives people a compelling reason to work for a brand.