Turn your internal communications inside out
Internal communicators generate some great content! From authentic letters from management, to feel-good stories about how employees are touching lives in their communities, to mini-successes along the way to fulfilling a long-term plan, and more.
And that content gets sent out in an email or newsletter, or posted on an intranet, or maybe it even gets discussed at a company meeting. But those stories can be so much more!
As you work to give employees a sense of purpose – helping them understand their role in the machine that is your company – those same stories can be turned outward for further benefit. Of course, this is a concept to be approached with care to make sure the content is safe to share outside the company.
Here are some ways your internal content can have external value:
Reach out to prospective employees. As millennials take up more of the workforce, companies will need to work harder to ensure they’re feeling fulfilled and connected to the company’s overall mission, a professional characteristic important to this generation. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 40% of millennials feel strongly connected to their company’s mission.
Coca-Cola is often cited as one of the best company LinkedIn pages – and for good reason. Its content goes beyond the typical new product announcements and advice columns to share the smaller stories that reflect its people and corporate values. For example: the story of a Syrian refugee who is part of Coca-Cola’s vocational training program in Germany.
Sharing these small stories about how your company fulfills its mission can help make you an employer of choice, and give future employees a taste of what it’s really like to work there. What are the things your company and employees do that reflect your mission, unique culture and values? It could be big or small, and it’s probably already in your intranet or newsletter somewhere, so why not share those moments on social media? Keep your message authentic (and less self-pat-on-the-back).
Reinforce your messages to current employees. One of the oldest axioms in communication is, “Tell people what you’re going to tell them, then tell it to them, then tell them what you told them.” With the speed at which information flows today, it can be difficult to get your message in once, let alone three times. Why not increase your chances of getting through to current employees by posting that great internal story on your company’s LinkedIn page, or Twitter feed? They’ll feel like they’re just checking social media, with a little extra internal communication snuck in.
Ensuring the hiring and retention of a diverse workforce is often thought of as an internal effort. But some companies, including Google, have taken to publicly reporting their progress toward a diverse workplace with the same gusto as financial earnings reports.
Being transparent and open on these important issues can send a signal to employees that these issues are fundamental to the company. They may even get questions from friends and family who read about it, further reinforcing the message.
Build trust among other external audiences. For many of the same reasons millennials want to feel connected to their company’s mission, so do your customers. Sharing stories about the inner-workings of your operations can help them connect more deeply with your company’s narrative and show how you live out your brand promise in an authentic way. Patagonia is well known for its corporate responsibility, an ingredient of its business that has been constructed over decades of transparency and storytelling and has secured a fan base the world over.
These small internal stories will help tell your organization’s broader story to a broader audience, helping to increase brand trust and affinity among a public that is clamoring for story now more than ever.