Why B2B brands should prioritise employee engagement
March 2, 2021
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Senior Content Writer
The Marketing Pod
When creating customer campaigns, B2B marketers know that creativity is key to ensuring that your organisation stands out from the crowd. But when it comes to internal communications, many businesses are still relying on a monthly newsletter, or a ‘Send-to-All’ email round-up of company news. Be honest - when was the last time you opened one of them?
Just like your customers, your employees are busy and (probably) have short attention spans, which means you need to make your internal communications just as engaging as your external communications. Simply sending out a newsletter in the same format you’ve used since the company’s inception is therefore unlikely to capture your employees’ attention, which means they could miss key information.
Done right, however, internal communications can make your employees feel valued, help them to understand how they are contributing to your wider business objectives and reassure them that their opinions are being heard. When they do, they should be more inclined to provide an excellent customer experience, because they’re happy and motivated in their role. Engaged employees are also much more likely to want to work their way up within your organisation, rather than seek their next role elsewhere, which means you get to hold on to your top talent.
If you really nail your internal comms strategy, you could even turn your employees into advocates, who will raise awareness of your company among their own networks simply because they believe in what you do. So it’s worth taking the time to make sure that your employee communications are up to scratch.
Here are some top tips to ensure your internal comms are as engaging as possible:
Think internal conversations, not internal comms
A truly successful internal marketing strategy relies on open communication, both from the top down and the bottom up. Everyone should feel that they can have their say, and that their feedback will be heard. So you need to ensure that you open up the lines of communication within your organisation, and you can start by dropping the corporate speak in favour of being totally honest and transparent with your team. When you’re open with them, they’re much more likely to be open with you. And think about wider conversations around the business, too - how can you encourage conversations across different departments and divisions of your organisation? It may be as simple as starting a Slack conversation.
You should also make all of your comms feel like the start of a conversation, rather than announcements that aren’t open to feedback. The best way to do this is simply by simply asking your employees what they want or need to hear from you. This approach worked really well for one of our clients, GEFCO, when they were trying to decide how best to communicate with a workforce that included workers that were still on site, those working from home and furloughed workers. They decided to simply send out a survey to all employees to find out what they wanted to hear from them about and how they would like to receive comms. Their resulting podcast on mental wellbeing (a topic requested by many employees) received 150 downloads in the first week .
Make sure the right messages reach the right people
You personalise your customer communications (or if you don’t, you should), so why aren’t you personalising your employee comms too? There are likely to be different ‘audiences’ within your workforce, and before you send out any comms to them, you need to carefully consider who the information is relevant to and how it will affect them. It’s particularly important to be sensitive in your communications right now, as your team will still be affected by the ongoing implications Covid-19,and every employee is likely to be impacted differently.Employees that are returning to the office may be interested in the new health and safety measures you have in place, for instance, but those that will remain furloughed may not appreciate the update until they’re ready to return too.
You should also be thinking about which channels your different employee audiences are most likely to use, as this is the best way to ensure your communications reach them. Often, multi-channel campaigns are most effective - if your message is posted on your intranet, emailed to your workforce and put on posters across your site, the chances of the message actually reaching your employees are much higher. If you have data on which channels your employees use most frequently, you can use this to inform your decision-making.
Measure your success
As with any marketing campaign, it’s important to measure your success in regards to your internal communications. CRM software like HubSpot can enable you to track open rates on your emails, for example, and your intranet system may enable you to create reports in order to analyse how much engagement your internal comms receive. If you don’t have access to hard data like this, then you can simply survey employees to gauge the general sentiment around and awareness of your communications. Use the information you gather from these conversations and your data to identify the channels and messages that are resonating with your employees, and those that aren’t, so you can optimise your internal comms campaigns going forward.
By putting as much effort into our internal communications as you put into your customer-facing communications, you can create a truly engaged, motivated workforce - which benefits your business just as much as it benefits each individual employee. So if you’re looking to improve your customer experience, increase your staff retention rate and extend your brand’s reach, remember the power of a well-honed internal comms strategy.