As a business leader, the creation of goods or services to meet a defined need and creatively marketing those products to a specific customer group are bread and butter to you. Your skills here, (and the ability to inspire them in others) is why you are where you are.
So as your business grows, make sure you are using these same skills to align and onboard your team and a bit of magic to your internal communications. Here, a little time and effort can reap dividends in terms of engagement. And it doesn’t just have to be about your latest product launch either. Why not shout about HR new news too? As well as helping you cover your a**e if someone gets legal – it’s a great way of demonstrating to the team that you care.
Start by follow some of the key marketing principles you know already:
Know Your Audience
Whoever they are, they are likely to be time-poor and anxious to get on with the day job. So chose your communications weapons wisely. Nobody likes a learning lunch – riding ruff shot over someone’s lunch break is not the way to make friends. If what you’ve got to say requires a presentation (does it really?) then try and add on to an existing slot such as team meeting rather than blocking more time out of others people’s diaries with yet another meeting request. But you will need to consider how to make your content stand out (see later). And remember too that different groups may need communicating to in different ways – this is relevant to both the communication medium and the messaging….
Simplify Your Messaging
With the audience in mind, ask yourself what they really need to know. Strip the messaging down to the bare bones and tell them that. Have a clear call to action to where they can obtain further information if they need it – but for now just keep it simple. The best marketing presentation to a sales team I ever saw showed the new TV ad followed by just one slide (with accompanying sales presenter) ‘10 Things Your Customers Need To Know’. That was it – and the room was buzzing.
However you chose to communicate with the team – you are going to be interrupting them somehow and some will always find this mildly irritating. Combat this, by giving them something cool in return. I once attended a ‘wellbeing’ session that was tagged on to a long monthly meeting. It was after the break and as we all returned to the room we were greeted with relaxing music, asked to take off our shoes and given free flip flops and all offered a shoulder massage during the presentation. Simple – but I’ve always remembered it.
Ultimately you’re looking to make your audience feel special – even if it’s just for a moment. Because it’s in that moment that you’ve got their undivided attention.
Step Away From The Slide Deck….
A lengthy Powerpoint isn’t always the best way to get your message across. There are many more options. Here’s our top 3:
1. Innovative Desk Drops
I don’t know about you but I hardly ever get anything through the post anymore.
And you’ll get even more brownie points if you personalise it (marketing will love it). Check out our recent post Personalisation For Your Internal Customers: 5 Easy Ways To Make Your Employees Feel Special for more ideas.
2. A Cracking Intranet
Incredibly important – particularly for those with a virtual team. But it needs to have its own content strategy where you develop establish trust with the user. Only then have you earned the right to tell them the stuff that you want to get across. Develop a useful blog with an approachable style that gives employees practical advice on how to ‘get on’ on your business. Profile these articles in a weekly newsletter to help build a following. When you’ve got you’ve got an engaged audience, then you can start to use this channel as an effective internal comms tool.
3. Relevant Events
Yes I know what I said about learning lunches, but it is possible to run an event whilst being respectful of other people’s time. Supermarket retailers (and their suppliers) are big on foyer events – particularly in the morning as the team head in to work. So why not introduce your wellbeing credentials with a freshly made smoothie and home-made energy bar. Or ‘celebrate’ the launch of new family-friendly policies with a family day. Here, the key to getting your message noticed, understood and remembered is relevance – so chose your event wisely and ensure it has some connection to what you want to communicate.
For HR advice, software, contract templates, how to guides and more visit thehrhub – the ultimate online support system for SMEs and startups. And for a quick ‘leadership’ vitamin shot download our free eBook: Leadership 101: The Ultimate Guide to Being an Inspirational Leader.
Photo Credit: Jeff Sheldon