Remember: your employees are people too

‘Customers will never love a company until its employees love it first.’

A bold statement, and one of several snippets of wisdom I heard at the Advanced Learning Institute’s recent Strategic Internal Communications conference in San Francisco.

Here are five more:

1. Your employees are your brand.
 

Your reputation is in their hands. And yet, internal communications are only given a fraction of the budget and attention of external communications. What’s up with that?

2. An employee who’s stopped caring can cost you dearly
 

In the USA, companies lose an estimated $350 billion in productivity every year because of unhappy employees. And around 68 per cent of customers take their business elsewhere because of bad or indifferent service.

3. Language matters
 

Almost all the speakers, whatever their specialist topic, stressed the importance of speaking to your people like, you know, people. Be honest and straightforward in your internal communications, using language everyone can understand and relate to, even when it’s bad news.

4. So does storytelling
 

‘Storytelling’ might have become a marketing buzzword, but there’s science behind its effectiveness. So why limit it to your big, flashy external campaigns? At Intel, there’s a team doing ‘internal content marketing’, which means they find and write stories that make people proud to be part of the company. And The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has based an entire internal campaign on employees’ personal stories, making its own people not just fans but also cheerleaders.

5. And don’t forget employee-to-employee communications
 

When we hear ‘internal communications’, most of us probably think of those emails, posters and policies where it’s the employer speaking to the people. But how employees write to each other is important too. Change that, and you could see a change in your entire culture.

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