PR is not easy. Getting attention is difficult; getting favourable attention is even more so. It’s a tough industry, meeting this objective and that as you’re designing intricate strategies to bring in as many external audiences as possible.
But wait, what about your internal communications?
The missing piece in your perfect PR strategy doesn’t lie in external opinion and demographics. It doesn’t lie on never-before-seen platforms or outreach methods. It lies on the inside.
Imagine you’re a salesperson. Of course you want to meet sales objectives and raise the bottom line, but that’s just one aspect of what you do. Every day you’re interacting with existing and potential buyers, and you want to meet their expectations. You want them to be satisfied with their purchase, and experience significant results from having the product. Everyone wants to know that they create an impact.
Most likely, not everyone on your team is going to be a salesperson – but every employee, no matter what they do, contribute to your brand success in some way. Remember, it’s your members that form your company. And those members are human and have opinions. So, if your people aren’t aware of your big updates, aren’t excited about new changes or products, or can’t or won’t share your company’s message and positioning – well, how can you expect everyone else to get on board when it’s those people bringing your audiences in?
It’s ironic, but your internal audiences can be the most critical audience for your “Public Relations” efforts. Thing is, internal communications tends to be one of the more difficult forms of corporate communications – not because of a lack of engagement, but because internal communications is so often left to the side bench in favour of external messaging.
Why Internal Communications
According to Aon Hewitt’s annual Trends in Global Employee Engagement report, every estimated 1% increase in a company’s employee engagement translates to an estimated 1% increase in sales. If you can believe in that completely, then the next statement makes logical sense: doubling employee engagement means doubling your business.
Though the exact results will vary from business to business, investing in internal branding and communications will help you grow as a company. An increase in employee engagement is a leading indicator of corporate growth.
Effective internal communications have shown the following workplace benefits:
- Higher employee engagement and member morale
- Higher trust and rapport from younger/newer employees
- Fewer rumours circulated in the workplace, and less uncertainty about work stability
- Greater sense of cultural values and team environment
- Clearer understanding of expectations and objectives
Engaged employees are more productive and loyal. This is paramount in a corporate landscape where loyalty is a growing concern as more “flighty” Millennials make up the workforce. Engaged employees are more likely to refer their friends and family to work, and can foster greater external brand growth as informal brand ambassadors. Word of mouth is still one of the most effective forms of PR!
Now that you’re thinking about internal communications, here are some starting points to think about:
Find the right place
Think about where people want to go for information. Maybe it’s via a newsletter, email, intranet, video or bulletin board. Choose one or two primary communications vehicles and focus your engagement efforts there. It’s definitely worth polling employees for their preferences. Whatever response you get, keep the number of options few in number. Saturating the workplace with outlets for information will inevitably be confusing and cause people to stop zoning in.
You probably want to get all your information in one message and get it over with – but avoid taking shortcuts with your internal communication. People respond better to brief messages that appear weekly than large quarterly updates featuring thousands of words.
Or communicate through video
We just said avoid taking shortcuts, but video is a shortcut you can and should take – a shortcut for your employees at least. Studies show most employees learn faster with visual aid, and are more willing to open that email or message to begin with when it has a video attached. The play button is, without a doubt, the most compelling action on the Internet. If you’re interested in using video to make your communications polished, effective and worth tuning in to, our team at Arc and Crown can help. Contact us here to learn more.
Let your workers interact with you
You want your staff to engage more – so give them the means to interact with you. Encourage them to share comments on company news, offer ideas or even contribute their own content (like blogs). It’s important that you establish a welcoming environment for ideas.
Starting out, you probably shouldn’t expect that much engagement. Trust is the foundation of any organization and it builds slowly. Implement methods to solicit feedback regularly, even if anonymously. Look into collaboration and communication tools (we use Slack) that provides an easier environment for “talking” within the company.
Engagement is a two-way street. No one wants to converse with the person in that party who only talks about themselves. Similarly, your internal communications shouldn’t only concern company news and information. Instead, also take the time to make more personal messages too. Employees want their stories and contributions to be noticed; it shows that you value and trust them. Establish recognition programs to reward employees. It’s also a good chance to indirectly promote your expectations and values for employees.
Add some friendly competition.
Because everyone enjoys a win once in a while! Motivate folks to read and act on what you’re sending. You can incite participation in an initiative that spans the whole company – and rewards are a guaranteed plus! Prizes don’t need to be big or expensive, but think of incentives that would be appreciated and meaningful. Even candy bars or lunch can be a motivator.
Your external messaging should be true to your brand promise, corporate and human values, and business goals. The same is said for your internal communications.
It’s time to blur that line between “external” and “internal.” Consistency is the name of the game for your PR strategy’s success – and that means an aligned brand vision for both sides of the coin.
At Arc and Crown we believe in engaging and entertaining internal communications – for us, all business is show business! To learn more about what we do at Arc and Crown Media Inc, please click here. If you have any questions about how we can help you, contact us here.