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The Art & Science of Internal Communications

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In this deck I share my views on Internal Communications for a presentation at the 2014 NCHRA Young Professionals Summit

Title: The Internal Marketer
Topic: The Art and Science of Internal Communications
Description: Have a big initiative coming up? Implementing a new system or program that you need your stakeholders to buy into? But you are HR! How does that work? Internal marketing is inward facing marketing. Internal marketing is used by marketers to motivate all functions to satisfy customers. Yes, this includes employees!

What you get out of this:
Discover the art and science in internal marketing and communications
Learn internal marketing strategies and techniques that will help gain buy-in at any level in the organization
Learn what foundational channels you must cultivate and develop to ensure you get as much bang as possible in your employee communications

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The Art & Science of Internal Communications

  1. 1. THE INTERNAL MARKETER Art & Science of Internal Communications @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR
  2. 2. AJ Thomas Head of Employee Engagement & Development, Nimble Storage Founder & Executive Director, Infuse Program Foundation @ItsAJThomas Mom, foodie, passionate about education and technology.
  3. 3. Employee morale is affected by how much we know about the company’s plans. “ 98% of employees agree.
  4. 4. Why are they communicating? Where does it fit within an organization’s strategic plans? Who should do it -- marketing, HR, public relations? What can these organizations learn from each other? Key Questions Regarding Internal Marketing
  5. 5.  Selling the company to its employees (Grönroos, 1981)  The process of attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining qualified employees through job-products that satisfy their needs (Berry & Parasuraman 1991)  Building customer orientation among employees by training and motivating both customer contact and support staff to work as a team (Kotler & Armstrong 1991)  A process by which employee satisfaction is leveraged to positively impact the bottom line. Satisfied employees strengthen relationships among all critical stakeholders. (Williams, Business & Economic Review, 1997) How is Internal Marketing Defined? @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR
  6. 6. Effective internal marketing responds to employee needs as it advances the organization’s mission and goals. “The application of marketing, human resources management, and allied theories, techniques, and principles to motivate, mobilize, co-opt and manage employees at all levels of the organization to continuously improve the way they serve external customers and each other. (Joseph W.B. 1996 Cleveland State University ) ɪ̀ntə́rnəl márkətɪŋ (n.)
  7. 7.  Customer- and employee-focused  It demands an integrative approach  Internal customers -- the idea that organizational departments serve each other  It encompasses all employees What Does It Need to Succeed ɪ̀ntə́rnəl márkətɪŋ (n.)
  8. 8. Influencing Employees look act talk interact with each other
  9. 9. The Art & Science @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR  Recruiting the right people  Training them  Motivating them  Communicating with them  Co-opting them (getting them to buy into the organization and its plans)
  10. 10. Changing Workforce  Employees viewed as assets, not costs  People will have 4-6 careers in lifetime  More than half of women with babies are working  More women are starting and running their own businesses
  11. 11. Where Internal Communications Fail @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR  Few companies develop a strategy  Failure in over 80% of cases involving announced change  Biggest symptom of failure - lots of inaccurate, negative rumors  Second symptom - learning about change from press
  12. 12. How It Affects Employee Engagement @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR  Employees are insulted when a less ‘rich’ channel is used  Management does not adapt message to different groups  Employees react negatively to use of buzzwords  Great differences between literal meaning, intention and effect of overly positive messages
  13. 13. Implications of Not Doing Enough @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR  Employees don’t believe what management says.  Are not sufficiently informed.  Change not communicated well.  Management does a bad job of explaining reasons behind decisions.  Communication is not timely.
  14. 14. Don’t have time Haven’t gotten information self Fear reactions, leaks, uproar Won’t give away power Not evaluated on their communication Get no rewards for communicating Don’t see how it is useful Under-evaluate employee’s information needs
  15. 15. What Employees Want Leaders to Do @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR  Inform them ahead of time  Care about how they really feel  Give their managers enough authority to get job done  Make a strong commitment to serve the customer  Have the ability to solve major organization problems  Run a socially responsible organization  Provide new products and services to meet competition  Place more emphasis on quality than quantity
  16. 16. Communication Obligations @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR  Speak at meetings  Negotiate  Give feedback, criticism and praise  Speak personally with staff  Solve conflicts  Set demands  Explain and defend unpopular decisions  Carry out periodic evaluations of employees  Carry information from Sr. Management  Explain  Listen  Get feedback from employees  Take information from‘down’to ‘up’  Active role in spreading information  Sell ideas  Motivate, inspire and encourage personal development
  17. 17. INSTRUCTIVE
  18. 18. INFORMATIVE
  19. 19. ADVISING
  20. 20. CONTRIBUTIVE
  21. 21. PARTICIPATIVE
  22. 22. What is size and nature of company? What do employees think of organization? How satisfied are employees? What employee communications exist? How effective are communications tools? Are there special employee relationship programs? Assess the Organizational Landscape
  23. 23. Communication Objectives @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR  Increase employees’ knowledge  Enhance favorable attitudes toward employer  Get more adoption by employees of behavior desired by management  Make employees spokespersons for organization in community  Receive more employee feedback
  24. 24. Prescriptions for The Internal Marketer • Face-to-face: non-routine and difficult communications • Memos: routine, simple communications • Discussion & Meetings: make presence felt • Rich media: Implement a strategy for these types of communications • Multiple media: critical issues and need to get message heard • Evaluate appropriate technology and tools
  25. 25. Manager’s Communication Obligation @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR  Speak at meetings  Negotiate  Give feedback, criticism and praise  Speak personally with staff  Solve conflicts  Set demands  Explain and defend unpopular decisions  Carry out periodic evaluations of employees  Carry information from Sr. Management  Explain  Listen  Get feedback from employees  Take information from‘down’to ‘up’  Active role in spreading information  Sell ideas  Motivate, inspire and encourage personal development
  26. 26. How to Measure Impact @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR  Communication, Retention, Acceptance of Messages  Employee Surveys  Focus Groups  Talk to your employees and managers 1:1- extensive use of network analysis and interviews  Automation and tool metrics
  27. 27. What Great Companies Do @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR  Share responsibility  Bad news/good news ratio  Knowing customers, clients, audiences  Employee communication strategy  Chief executive as communication champion  Match between words and actions  Commitment to 2-way communication  Emphasis on face-to-face
  28. 28. Information/Lead Generation: Gathering Information Lead Nurturing: MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma Initiatives: HR Programs  Follow Up  Corporate Newsletter  Drip Campaigns with Collateral and Event Offers  1:1 Meetings  Focus Groups  Employee Surveys  Reward & Recognition Programs  Intranet Activity  Communications  Email Communications  Stakeholder Campaigns  Internal Advertising  Newsletters Awareness: Generating Buzz Strategic Internal Communications Campaigns Help Drive Employee Engagement The Internal Marketer’s Roadmap
  29. 29. An internal marketer can develop a really hot system to market their product, but if they have not taken time to build in an employee communications plan, the marketing effort is dead in the water. Gegenheimer, C. L., “Include employees in marketing”, Advertising Age’s Business Marketing, July 1998. “ @ItsAJThomas #YPSummitHR
  30. 30. La Fin @ItsAJThomas www.linkedin.com/angelejeanthomas

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