Are You Neglecting Your Most Important Audience?
01.10.2011 / Posted in Articles, Communications
Many companies create complex marketing strategies and leave out their most important audience: The people who work there.
If a company’s knee-jerk reaction is to think its team members don’t matter, it should think again. When employees aren’t on board, they don’t do good work, and whether that’s on the sales/business development side or on the product/service delivery side, it ultimately means fewer and dissatisfied customers. Ouch.
Why might employees not be on board? Sure, they could disagree with the company’s direction—and in that case, they may no longer be a right fit for the organization. However, quite often staff members aren’t on board because they never really heard the message or didn’t fully understand it. People generally want to do a good job, and they generally want to believe in the businesses they work for. Companies just have to give them that opportunity.
Many C-suite folks assume their managers are keeping everyone on board, and many managers think they’re doing a fair-to-middling job communicating with their teams—especially given their myriad other job responsibilities. And perhaps they are. But here are a few signs that a company should put some strategic thinking around internal communications:
- Duplicated, competing, or cross-purpose efforts between departments, divisions, or offices
- Different “ways of doing business” in each team—from how customers are treated, to how products or services are presented, to how the company’s brand is used
- Languishing initiatives: Pronouncements or corporate programs aren’t implemented or are implemented half-heartedly
- Silence: Leadership distributes information and employees do not mention it or act upon it, or leadership requests input from staff and receives lackluster response
- High staff turnover: Employees leave, seeking something that engages them
Some of these symptoms may indicate a corporate culture problem, but many corporate culture problems thrive in a communication void. And a company thinking that employees who don’t seem to be engaged or “get” it will just leave or eventually be fired is misguided. Yes, they may leave in one way or another, but the damage that happens from misuse of brands or marketing information and different departments doing things their own ways, for example, lasts long beyond any individual employee’s tenure.
What to do? Companies seeing any of the above signs should take immediate action to develop an internal communications strategy and plan that addresses staff groups, key messages, tactics for message distribution, and success measures. Otherwise, the cost of the disconnect will multiply over time.
Get your employees on board and engaged, and the return on the investment will spread across all facets of the organization.
Need help? Contact FrogDog.