Of course, it’s not always the case, but it seems like madness that in an age where a single employee’s behaviour can bring a company to its knees, we still seem to save the ‘good stuff’ for external audiences.
There are so many things wrong with this.
First, all audiences are ultimately consumers, so why do we feel they deserve less when we’re communicating to their work selves?
It’s insulting to them and naive of us to think we don’t have to work as hard to take them with us, just because they’re on the payroll.
Second, they’re all potential advocates.
We live in a time where we all care about the businesses behind the brands, and when employees actively advocate on their company’s behalf it resonates powerfully.
And multiply that by the size of your workforce and they become a powerful channel in their own right.
Third, these are the people who actually make your company what it is. Without them, you’re nothing and no products get designed, built, marketed or sold.
The power of an activated workforce not only affects the external perception of the brand but its business performance.
An obvious point – no doubt – so I say once more, why is it the poor relation of external comms?
And this is ever more important in the age of purpose.
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 selves.
It’s not motivating to feel like a cog in a machine that is making more money than they can possibly conceive.
But it is motivating to feel like you work for a company that is ‘making a dent in the universe’, to quote Steve Jobs.
Much has been made of Nike’s Colin Kaepernick Dream Crazy creative and I’d wager the employees who shared the ideals behind the ad not only advocated on its behalf but also gave a bit more in their 9-5.
And if they didn’t share the ideals? Well, should they really be working there in the first place?
So what’s my point?
It is this: employees should be front and centre. They should be where comms 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 comms isn’t external comms’ poor relation – it’s where the real value lies. And it’s the brands that are acting on this that will rule the world.