50% or fewer of a company’s employees truly believe in the brand, according to Forbes. With such lackluster buy-in and engagement, it is no wonder that employees are job-hopping and companies are struggling to attract and retain talent. As McKinsey wrote, “The war for talent is over, and talent won,” so what are we doing to keep our MVPs in play and on the team?
Values posters, a quick town hall meeting, and feel-good internal marketing videos are just a few measures to embed an internal brand for employees. But for this branding to succeed, it also requires a commitment from the C-suite down to engage in continual coaching, exercises, daily feedback based on the behaviors associated with company values, and e-Learning modules that bring the brand to life. To successfully launch or reinvigorate an employer brand, leaders have to be committed to their internal customers with the same customer-centric approach that they take with external ones.
Just as Dell utilized IdeaStorm to engage and gauge the reactions of customers to potential product and service developments, today’s brands need to leverage their employees for powerful insights, product ideas, and marketing campaign reactions. You hired your team for a reason; they are often the best source for insights and innovations. Put team members to work on a closed social channel like Yammer or Slack, or develop an internal communication tool to beta test concepts.
While your people are immersed in the current products, services, and external marketing campaigns, it’s easy to include a few internal marketing tactics to engender increased service quality, retention, and satisfaction. A successful internal marketing communication tool can also reduce the status distinction between tiered or stacked employees, which increases creative collaborations and openness.
Successful internal marketing and employer branding campaigns result in greater buy-in from employees in the mission, vision, values, and strategic objectives of a company. This improved culture becomes apparent to external customers, which improves the customer experience and value proposition for both potential recruits and customers.
Internal marketing and company culture matter even in a B2B setting because they help with talent retention, morale, productivity, reputation, and a greater connectivity of team members to the strategy and goals of the organization. An emotional connection to the brand is necessary for internal players. Yes, the outcomes are more transparent when an external customer is at play showing ROI and KPIs in dollars and cents. However, the outcomes of internal marketing and company culture initiatives for B2Bs are no less meaningful or beneficial.
Although B2B KPIs might be read in terms of engagement surveys, an uptick in productivity, a decline in turnover and churn, and a surge of qualified talent, the results are still quantifiable and worth an investment. If 50% or fewer of your employees believe in the brand, as Forbes indicates, then it’s time to review some of today’s best practices:
- Introduce the brand as early as possible by incorporating it into your selection process and reinforcing it during orientation.
- Continually reinforce the brand with a recognition program, performance reviews, and training modules that reiterate the expected values, behaviors, and mindsets of team members.
- Utilize every medium – including social media – to reinforce your brand creatively and often.
- Ensure that leaders demonstrate and believe in the brand so that they constantly and consistently role model expected behaviors and values.
- Close the gap between your purported employee experience and what is actually happening when team members are hired. If the first week is a let-down, then employees will lose steam.
In “How to Put Your Culture to Work as a Marketing Tool,” I explained how to engage and excite your team members via internal marketing to turn them into brand advocates. This idea can be stretched even further; your team members can become your external marketing tools via word of mouth, online Glassdoor reviews, Quora responses about your employee experience, and more.
There are many great reasons to review your internal marketing and employer branding strategies, but the most vital ones are employee engagement and cultural buy-in. It’s time to get your team members aligned, engaged, and invigorated. If your team is struggling to engage employees with a positive culture and experience, then reach out to SGEi.