Everyone loves good publicity. A three-minute feature on the 6 o’clock news, a full page colour spread in a glossy magazine, a social media post that goes viral. All of these are great opportunities to strengthen the reputation of your brand with your target audience. But there’s a key audience that is often overlooked when companies are too focused on external communication.
Their own team.
Your team is your original tribe. They are your cheerleaders, ambassadors and loyal followers. They can also be your biggest liability if they aren’t connected, engaged and empowered to protect and leverage your company brand.
Internal communications is often associated with companies who have thousands of employees; however, there are so many ways it can be used to connect employees in smaller companies.
Problem A: Everyone works in silos
In a small-to-mid-sized company that is rapidly growing or trying to do more with less (who isn’t?!?), silos can form quite quickly. For example, I have a client with several different arms in their operation. There was a lack of understanding between the arms and a missed opportunity for collaboration. In addition, employees weren’t feeling connected to the greater goal as they were constantly working in isolation.
Opportunity: One of the first things we did was initiate a regular employee newsletter. Each monthly issue includes updates on the company as a whole, along with additional highlights from the various arms of the operation. It allows everyone to share in the success of each area and feel more engaged with the company on a deeper level.
Problem B: Morale is low
It’s called the grind for a reason. We spend 40+ hours a week plugging away at our jobs and then the rest of the week dealing with family logistics, commitments and additional obligations. People want to feel appreciated for their time and hard work.
Opportunity: Consider a staff event or celebration to recognize your team for their efforts. One company I worked for was doing a massive public opening of a new facility and had an event planned with all of the bells and whistles. But before the public got their feet in the door, it was all about staff. A huge event was coordinated to showcase the new spaces to staff and allow them to celebrate and feel proud of the work that went into making the dream a reality.
Problem C: Lack of empowerment
This is becoming more and more of a problem where we find leaders who operate with a micro-management style. Employees aren’t empowered to take action, or even participate in leveraging the company’s brand and reputation. This fosters disengaged staff and a lack of loyalty. Why should they put time and energy coming up with solutions or ideas if someone is just going to tell them what to do in the first place?
Opportunity: Give your staff the tools and messages to help them be your cheerleaders. I know of one company that developed a unique internal program focused on bites of information for their staff that can be passed along to guests. Not only is it an opportunity to teach employees more about the company, but it’s also a chance to empower them to share accurate and relevant information when the opportunity arises.
MLC focuses on connecting and engaging for impact, a strategic communications approach that isn’t limited to external communications. So before you get too focused on the media hits and social media posts, take a moment to review your internal communication and make sure your team is on solid footing first.