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‘Consumerize your employee experience’ – and other strategies HR can steal from the marketing playbook
From creating a consumer-grade employee experience to introducing marketing-grade automation to internal communications, ScreenCloud’s data-loving VP of Marketing Luke Farrugia shares insights and learnings from his own career that are remarkably relevant for HR leaders.
Employees – especially deskless employees – are craving more, and better, communication from senior management. ‘Old school’ tactics such as sending out mass emails, pinning announcements to noticeboards, and relying on busy managers to verbally pass on business-critical updates just aren’t cutting it anymore.
The world of work has undergone a paradigm shift post-pandemic. The value of effective internal communications, and the competitive advantage of a ‘consumerized’ digital employee experience, are more pronounced than ever before.
If your employee experience was a consumer subscription service like Netflix, Uber, or Spotify, how likely is it that your employees would re-subscribe?
How can HR leaders use technology and automation to deliver internal communications and an overall EX that not only keep employees informed, but encourage them to feel genuinely invested in their work, in each other, and in their employer? In short; to make them want to stay?
The answer, like most things in marketing, lies at the intersection of psychology and data.
Tune in to the webinar – hosted by HR Daily Advisor – for unmissable insights for HR leaders, from our VP of Marketing! Read more insights on the conversation below.
Q: What will be the top three challenges for employee communications in 2023?
Embracing change, disengagement, and digital friction are the top three challenges internal comms will face in 2023.
Through the pandemic, the rate of remote workplaces doubled – from 4% to 9% – and shows no signs of slowing into the new year. After workplaces were forced to adjust their working conditions due to the pandemic, such as hybrid or fully remote work schedules, management has to understand that the future of work is not going backwards.
Digital friction is the culmination of wasted effort and lost productivity from an employee while using their workplace technologies. Studies show that two-thirds of employees are putting too much effort into their communication tools and employees spend one work day per week inefficiently searching for information.
That’s 32 hours being wasted per month. A sturdy internal communications strategy is necessary to take on these challenges.
Q: What do you mean when you say a human resources/internal comms professional should “think like a marketer”?
Treat your employees like your hottest leads. The main goal of marketing is understanding their audience. For organizations, they have to think like a marketer and center their audience – that is, become employee-obsessed, just like a marketer would for their audience.
Tune in to your audience to keep them from tuning you out. By researching what material your employees want to see and tailoring your content to their needs, as opposed to hoping your depersonalized content catches their eye, you’re guaranteed to get your eyes on your communication.
Thinking like a marketer doesn’t have to be all theoretical either. Once you study what selling points your marketing team promotes for customers, you may find that they’re more relatable to your employees than you think. Aligning your messaging with your organization’s overall brand will ensure a powerful, consistent voice across the board and make communications easier for your consumers and colleagues.
Q: How can companies create a better internal communications strategy?
Internal communications strategies are more successful when they are informed by the marketing playbook. If a company is struggling to gain their employees’ attention, they have to start thinking like a marketer and create messaging that is emotional, relatable, and adjustable.
Communicating by storytelling within an emotional framework shows the human side of a business. Emotional appeals create stronger bonds with customers; if used correctly, it can create stronger bonds with your employees as well.
Relatability creates communication that can fit in your audience’s day-to-day life. The relevancy of content will pull in employees who previously may have ignored your message. You can inform your message’s relevancy through social listening, where you monitor social media for brand or industry discussion and utilize them in your communications, or through direct feedback.
Testing and iterating isn’t just for advertisements anymore. Your communication should be measured for efficiency and changed or redone if your current outreach is ineffective. While measuring employee communication can be challenging, setting benchmarks or using data from company assessments will better inform internal communication strategies that can be scalable in the future.
Q: What are specific marketing tools that are best suited for internal comms?
Customer journey mapping is utilized by marketing teams to measure where a potential customer is in their process of buying a product. This includes when customers are considering their needs, exploring/comparing options, testing a product, and does not end once they have the product in their hands – advocacy post-purchase is also included.
Think of your employees’ journey to your messaging, and you’ll see how the structure is similar to your customers; your employees also have needs, pain points, career options to consider, and expectations from their workplace experience.
With so many different sectors of employees, such as those in entry-level positions, behind a desk, or on a factory floor, how are you going to create messaging to reach them all?
Try creating a persona. In the marketing world, communication is segmented within the intended audience, with each segment being a persona. A persona is a profile using characteristics and behavioral factors of real-life audience members – customers from the marketing side and employees for HR/internal comms leaders.
While it is not practical, or even possible, to create messaging for every single employee, messaging can be specialized for employee groups. Looking at your employees like how marketers look at their customers may help you better connect with them where they are.
Q: What is the digital employee experience?
With the increasing digitization in our personal lives, it only makes sense that employees would come to expect a smooth digital experience in their work lives. The digital employee experience (DEX) includes all interactions an employee has, or could have, with the technology embedded in their position; when sufficiently embellished with necessary and adequate technological tools, DEX influences operational efficiency and organizational revenue.
More than half (54%) of employees and executives report that there is a tremendous need to improve their companies’ employee experience. Marketing technology that is often thought to only be consumer-facing can be repurposed to speak directly to employees and reinforce their digital experience.
Q: How are digital tools aiding the digital employee experience?
To prevent teams being overwhelmed with tasks, digital automation can be the assistance they need.
Consider, for example, a noticeboard to inform employees, and thus influencing the employee experience. What happens when the person tasked with changing this communication is out sick? Or too busy to print out a new notice and pin it to the cardboard where it will undoubtedly be ignored by employees?
By upgrading your traditional tools to new digital ones, such as swapping out a noticeboard in favor of up-to-date and feature-rich digital signage, you are able to streamline your employee experience. Compelling visuals and multimedia stimulation is also shown to be easier to recall and retain for employees.
Just through digital transformation, your organization can enable information chains, save effort, and reinvest time into creating bigger and better communications.
Q: What is the difference between multichannel communication and omnichannel communication?
How you reach your employees is just as important as what you want to say to your employees. Two most practiced ways to reach employees are multichannel communication and omni channel communication.
A multichannel communication approach is simply creating messaging and then pushing that message through to employees in numerous ways, such as e-mail, text, and phone call. However, since the message is not personalized – just the communication channel is changed – multichannel communication can cause overwhelmed and disengaged employees.
Omnichannel communication creates an employee-centric communications strategy built around employee needs. It uses employees’ preferred channels to reach them where they’re at, whether they’re in-office, remote, or frontline. The information pushed through omnichannel communication is personalized, usually due to segmentation, and allows for a more diverse workforce.
The difference between multichannel vs omnichannel is most showcased when reaching deskless workers. Companies where the majority of their workforce are frontline workers are still guilty of using the same communication channels as they would with workers behind a desk. When deskless workers feel ignored or lack channels to communicate, they are more likely to disengage and, even worse, resign.
ScreenCloud for HR
Drive engagement, productivity and retention with digital signage.
ScreenCloud is on a mission to give the world’s 2.7 billion deskless workers an employee experience that, for too long, has been the privilege of the desk-based.
How? Employee-facing screens on the walls of factory floors, coat rooms or break rooms strengthen your internal communications ecosystem and create ‘connected companies’ – organizations that reach, inform, engage and enable workers from head office all the way through to the frontline.
Our award-winning, user-friendly solution is trusted by HR teams in 9,000+ organizations around the globe, including BASF, Ricoh UK Products Limited, Fresh Mark, and Choate Construction.