In the never-ending quest to retain customers and gain new ones, businesses often forget one particular element of their communications — their employees.
To achieve external success, effective internal communication is vital. Your employees need to connect with your brand values; embrace your vision; deliver your aims; and function as a unit.
Better still, if they are inspired to bring their own career goals in line with your brand, you can be sure they will add value to your business.
To bring about this success, you need to understand the wants and needs of your employees and their challenges and opportunities — even their thoughts about you and your business. Research and review, respond and reward — only then will you understand one another. You won't agree with every statement, but knowing their thoughts and responding in the most appropriate manner will enable you to assess those ready for the challenge, and those who aren't.
Take Marks and Spencer. It has aligned its CSR strategy with employee initiatives through “Plan A”, empowering staff to take the lead on store sustainability. And it's working, but a considered internal communications campaign was needed to kick start employee understanding.
But it isn't just big business who can use this effectively. SMEs can benefit too. Right from their first day, engage with your staff. Show how you're different and why you're passionate about your business and they will in turn work harder for you.
As your business grows and expands, encourage your team to develop with it. Identify particular individual strengths and grant them the autonomy manage this, with the aim to make that crucial difference.
All this cannot be achieved without first understanding the people who work for you. A considered approach to internal communications will energise employees to succeed. Your business is only as strong as your weakest link — make sure it isn't your employees.
Ask them. Involve them. Inspire them.
Dave Endsor is an account manager at Origination.