Am I crazy or is it madness that in today’s world, where a single employee’s behaviour can bring a company to its knees, businesses still think their priority communications spend should be saved for external audiences? I could spend all day listing how many ways this is wrong (don’t worry, I won’t). But consider this.
Firstly, all audiences are consumers! So thinking your internal people deserve less when you’re communicating with their work selves is insulting to them, and naïve of you if you think you don’t have to work as hard to take them with you just because they’re on the payroll.
Secondly, they’re all potential advocates. We live in a time where people actually care about the purpose behind the businesses they work for, and when employees actively advocate on their company’s behalf it’s incredibly powerful. Now multiply that by the size of your workforce and they become a communications channel in their own right – yourcommunications channel – so why not utilise it?
Lastly, these are the people who actually make your company what it is. Without them, you’re nothing and no products or services get designed, built, marketed or sold. They are your ‘promise’ deliverers, and when activated they not only affect the external perception of your company, they impact business performance. An obvious point, right? And yet, internal communications is still treated as some poor relation of external communications, because of the perceived value of the target audience.
We are in an age of purpose, where people want to work for companies that exist for a reason other than to just make money. They want to know why their employers exist, what they care about, where they’ve come from and where they’re going. Bring them in on that and you’ll get their best work selves.
It’s not motivating for people to feel like a cog in a machine that is making more money than they can possibly conceive. It is, however, motivating to feel like you work for a company that is ‘making a dent in the universe’, to quote Steve Jobs.
Employees should be front and centre. They should be where communication starts, not a passive afterthought. They should be swept up by a powerful purpose and seduced by world-class creative, designed just for them. They should be allowed to be everything they can be and for that they need to feel it with their hearts as well as their heads.
Internal communications shouldn’t be treated as the poor relation of external communications because it’s where the real value lies. And the businesses acting on that will rule the world.