Marcy Massura is a big believer in encouraging employees to help spread the word about all of the good things a company is doing. Too often, she said, companies are “leaving a free marketing channel on the table” when they’re not mobilizing potential brand ambassadors.
But for that to happen, they must arm employees with great information.
“Internal comms has a far greater responsibility to make the content more compelling for the employee,” said Massura, an executive brand advisor. “A press release is not going to be shared. Yet you don’t see very often a piece of content created specifically to entice an employee to share it out.”
Communicators need to produce high quality storytelling for their employees, she said. In fact, Massura has a simple philosophy if brands want to successfully enlist the workforce as messengers of positive messages.
“The best strategy is just to be really, really awesome,” she said. “Have great content that makes people proud to share. Make it good enough that they want their friends to see it. They share it because they think their community will benefit from it and enjoy it. That has to be the end game.”
Here are more insights from Massura, who is one of the industry experts featured in The Definitive Guide to Employee Communication and Engagement.
Q: Why is it more difficult to communicate with today’s workforce?
A: “The most obvious reason is that we are inundated with content. We’re reading more on screens than ever before. So, messages from our place of business are diluted. Company information may fall through the cracks. It may look boring. If I’m choosing between dull content my brand is giving me versus looking at something more entertaining on BuzzFeed, I know what I’m doing on my lunch break. That’s why you need quality content that’s more compelling and makes employees want to be part of the conversation.”
Q: Is the standard toolkit of intranet, email and team collaboration tools not reaching employees?
A: “That’s a given. Most organizations don’t have things as simple as a mobile-friendly intranet. So, how do people view information on the subway or the train? I also believe in having some kind of portal that goes beyond the purpose of just communicating with the employee. You need functionality or resources that employees use every day as part of their job. That way it’s no longer about driving people to these locations. Then while you’re there, you get a pop-up notice
about a company event or training. It removes the element of choice and we make sure our content will land in front of employees’ eyeballs.”
Q: Are internal communicators taken seriously?
A: “I would say they’re seen as an important part of the organization for reasons like legal compliance issues. But where they’re really dismissed is in how employee communication can play a role in brand reputation, brand awareness, and brand crisis. I’ll be in a war room crafting a public message for a brand and then at the very end I’ll be asked, ‘Oh, yeah, and what should we tell our employees?’ That’s where you should start the conversation – with your most important people. So, I think comms is really undervalued in really important areas.”
Q: Is today’s employee communication broken?
A: “If I’m an old-timey CEO or COO and somebody asks how comms is doing, I might say, ‘It’s doing well because every time we have a critical statement, they get it out in 24 hours. They’re making employees aware of safety risks. So, sure, we’re talking to our employees.’ For them, it’s fine. But if you’re talking to a more evolved CMO, they’ll say it’s wildly broken. We’re completely missing the mark on the power of internal comms.”
Want to learn more about how emerging communication technology is empowering employees and transforming organizations? Download The Definitive Guide to Employee Communication and Engagement to learn more.