The inside out approach
It’s important to reiterate the obvious: unhappy employees spread bad news about you as an employer; unhappy employees make for unhappy customers and spread bad PR about your company’s products and services; unhappy employees perform poorly and badmouth you as an employer scaring off potential hires or top talents. If you hear something bad about a person – would you choose to be their acquaintance? Probably not! You would most likely avoid that person altogether. The same applies to employers that have bad reputations – who enjoys being around something that smells fishy? Nobody!
All communication professional understand the principles of the ripple effect, the huge potential and huge detriment that a simple message can do: to become either a company’s dream scenario of brand idolization or a devastating earthquake of brand deterioration. Thus, it couldn’t be simpler – start with your primary asset: your employees. Adopt the inside out approach to your branding activities; ensure that you have happy employees – it will result in positive and proactive brand ambassadors; ones that believe in your company’s products and service; people who feel excited about going to work and performing their best; employees that will try to encourage their friends to join them; your top performs will know people on par to their level of expertise and professionalism, i.e. brilliant people know other brilliant people.
So what can be done? How can you be better with your internal employer brand?
1. Be honest
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not! Everyone hates liars or pretentious performers.
2. Focus on your strengths
Instead of your weaknesses – nobody is perfect, so nobody expects you to be. But don’t be shy to talk about what’s positive about working for your company instead of another.
3. Be inspirational and aspirational
Aim to set an example, be a good role model and continue to try making your company self improve. Again, nobody is perfect, but nobody likes slackers and a “I don’t care” attitude.
4. Show compassion and you’ll get loyalty
If you’re a friend who doesn’t care, you’re not a friend at all. The same applies to you as an employer – neglect your staff, treat them like machines and only think about the bottom line, and you’ll get very few people who care about you in return and who will be willing to fight for you when times get tough.
5. Communicate, interact and get feedback
From your people on a daily basis via multiple channels: face-to-face, email, video, conferences, notice-boards, events, newsletters, magazines, phone calls, etc. It’s better to over communicate than say nothing. You have to work on your friendship with your employees – if you don’t talk and listen to them, they’ll become distant and reserved and will decide to befriend somebody else.