As marketers and business leaders, we often get caught up in market strategies that are focused on attracting, cultivating and nurturing external customers. Rightfully so, of course, we are looking for customers to support our business goals and make us profitable. However, there is an important target market that exists closer to home – one might even say, right under our nose!
Here is a prediction for 2021: ‘Creating culture‘ is going to be the buzzword/phrase/jargon of the year and it will carry forward.
Headlines are already being populated with it. Before you might get tired of this new jargony phrase, we need to look at its merits.
Creating a positive culture within your business is more important than it has ever been. Another way to look at this is that creating a culture within your company is simply internal marketing.
Internal marketing matters for a full range of reasons and we can make a strong case for internal marketing. To understand Internal marketing, it is important to understand your company culture.
Company culture can be defined as a set of attitudes, values, beliefs, goals and other unique characteristics that are followed to facilitate a gratifying working environment.
Let’s walk through some of the reasons culture matters…
1. Attract the cream of the crop when it comes to talent. It’s a competitive job market – especially in industries in the tech space, medical field and some financial roles. Culture has become a recruiting factor for businesses that need to compete for a finite pool of talented and qualified workers.
2. Amp up the innovation. It’s been shown that a positive culture fosters a deeper level of innovation, collaboration, and, ultimately, output. Your business can rise above the competition with the support of its positive culture.
3. Your internal customer is your external brand ambassador! Your employees are a representative of your company. If they don’t understand your company, service offerings or company values, then guess what…they cannot effectively convey these!
4. Employee retention gets easier – and costs less. The costs (time and money) associated with posting job descriptions, interviewing, screening, onboarding and training are steep. These costs can all be quantified, but when you factor in the intangible costs of a bad hire on productivity and morale, you can put a severe dent in your bottom line.
A note about the virtual workplace. Virtual workplaces were already trending before the pandemic descended on the American workplace in 2020. When the pandemic landed, work-from-home became the norm. Many elements that implied a particular company culture in the physical workplace were no longer there. For example, the design of the office, how people dress, etc.
Establishing and maintaining organizational culture in such a highly transitional environment was exceedingly difficult in the virtual setting. To keep things running smoothly with a spread-out team became more important than ever, 2020 emphasized the importance of a cultivating company culture with intention.
Communicate from day zero. Even before your employees start on day one, your internal marketing can begin. Training and onboarding are key touchpoints to show your team your vision for the company, nurture a strong sense of culture and set them up for a successful career within the organization.
Create a master reference point. We’ve seen this many times before: As a company begins to emerge, they create a brochure, flyer, and perhaps a website that meets the needs of a particular situation. As the company evolves, it ends up with a collection of collateral that is not consistent, visually or artistically.
Guess what? This confuses employees! And your clients, for that matter.
Taking the time to create a master brand piece that clearly communicates your values and offerings helps everyone. Perhaps it’s your website or a brochure – either way, you have a starting point that provides clarity and consistency.
Use tech to your advantage. Email, intranet and native apps are all ways to use technology to your advantage for internal marketing wins. Identify the tools that work for your employees’ needs. Once those channels are identified, your job becomes optimizing the content (using your master reference piece) for your team needs, to help them stay engaged, empowered and productive.
Measure your results. The key to any marketing initiative is measurement. Define your goals for your internal marketing in advance, as well as the metrics that will help you gain clarity as to what is working and what isn’t. Make sure your employees actively participate in the process of defining and assessing the effectiveness of the initiatives.
Much like cultivating a brand, internal marketing can help you nurture a productive and happy workforce. To learn more, read the below case study to find out how Equinix is leveraging a positive company culture to increase productivity.
Rather than seeing culture as a side project, it should be treated as a major business initiative. Your internal marketing becomes a part of your overall marketing machine, and, as such, can help you curate a more positive culture, produce better customer experiences and increase productivity – all factors that serve to lift your bottom line.