Healthy communication begets brand advocacy. When your teams are happy, engaged and connected with their coworkers, they are more likely to share positive content with their networks. In this 4-part blog series, we will explore how employee communications and advocacy provides value to every company department and what you can do to improve both.
The true value of creating a meaningful employee engagement and communications strategy is that it provides systemic benefits. When your employees are happy, engaged and connected with their coworkers, they are more likely to help each other, more comfortable providing feedback and more motivated to share positive content with their external networks.
Considering all the benefits, why are there still so many companies who struggle to understand and communicate the systemic value of employee engagement?
First let’s start with marketing and PR – the royal champions of external and internal engagement. Other employees in your company often look to these two teams for insight on how to handle communication challenges, tell your brand story, and connect with the community. Consider this bunch the center of the storm for building a strong internal communications strategy and building brand awareness – two components that impact every single person in your organization.
As communication experts, you know why employee engagement and communication are critical to these departments, but if you need to clarify to your team, here are three major points:
1. Communications and marketing teams can’t win without an open, fluid dialogue.
Public relations specialists, content marketers, communications directors — all of these employees introduce your company to the world. They craft pitches, write thought leadership content and are chock-full of new ideas on how to engage the market. They’re often the best at synthesizing information and coming up with clever ways to tell your company story.
If these two departments don’t work in a space that fosters healthy employee communication, there is little chance of them succeeding at their jobs. Communications experts need to build meaningful relationships with the public and marketers need to communicate a clear message to prospects and customers. Imagine your team trying to accomplish this when they’re disgruntled, possess poor communication skills, and have difficulty understanding one another.
If you have employees who can articulate the brand, are passionate storytellers, and enjoy coaching others, give them a platform that fosters that passion. Allow them to train other departments on how to tell the company story. Have an internal expert who keeps up with industry news? Provide them with an avenue to share that information with the rest of the company through “lunch and learns”. Identify those who naturally care about the company’s mission and leverage their enthusiasm. Moods are contagious – don’t be afraid of that.
2. Open communication fosters empathy, and empathy fosters creativity.
According to a survey conducted by Salesforce, 86 percent of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.
Marketing and communications teams are constantly under pressure to come up with new ideas to capture more leads, engage their audience and build brand awareness. If employees are in a hasty environment where they don’t feel comfortable sharing new ideas, you risk people holding back.
If you want to foster an environment of healthy collaboration and effective communication, you need to start with how your teams are connecting on an emotional level. Do they feel safe to share ideas? Are they empathetic to their colleagues? Are they open to constructive criticism?
This doesn’t mean you have to sit in a circle and sing “Kumbaya.” However, it does mean you need to be more cognizant of different communication styles and personalities and learn how to adapt decisions based on those differences.
3. Cross-departmental communication leads to a better brand story.
Daniel Pink, best-selling author and speaker says, “to sell is human.” Although your sales and marketing teams are primarily responsible for building brand awareness and communicating the business value, they aren’t your only channel to the outside world. Anytime someone in your company engages with a customer, prospect or stranger is representing your business. Think about the employees on your team? How well do you think they are selling your brand?
Facilitating open, consistent communication channels across departments creates a cross-pollination of ideas and inspiration, leading to a more unified brand voice. Find ways where you can gather people from different departments to talk about the brand story and company mission. Host training sessions or focus groups with sales reps so they can share what they pitch to customers. Keep it consistent, so it becomes a part of the routine and soon employees will start these conversations on their own. And you know what these organic, spontaneous conversations about your brand lead to? More engaged, communicative, emotionally intelligent employees who share the company story you’ve worked so hard to build.
If you’re looking for more insight on employee communications, engagement and advocacy, check out