Motivating staff to change their behaviours and thinking to achieve organisational goals.
The best way to do this is through internal marketing, using the same persuasive methods of communication that companies employ to market products and services externally. In effect, this means you must treat your employees as you would your customers, synchronising your internal and external brands in the process.
Internal marketing is distinct from internal communications, as the latter tends to be a one-way, top-down flow of information primarily concerned with ensuring that staff have the relevant information to do their jobs correctly.
Why is it important?
When an organisation wants to implement a new strategy or change programme, for instance, it needs to align employees' attitudes and behaviours to correspond with the vision. The correctly-motivated workforce this leads to is a pre-requisite for any business wishing to gain a competitive advantage through enhanced service levels, which, in turn, strengthens customer loyalty.
For these reasons, internal market-ing is likely to feature prominently on the wish list of any CEO. Do it well and you won't fail to be noticed, which will significantly further your career development opportunities. It should also bring a host of other HR and organisational payoffs, including high levels of employee satisfaction, improved retention rates, reduced absenteeism and wider acceptance of any change programme.
Where do I start?
You need to clearly define what you want the exercise to achieve, and then secure the buy-in from the senior management team. If they are not wholly in agreement about the aims, the chances of the exercise succeeding will be limited.
Once the objectives have been decided, the next step is the same as with any external marketing campaign: get to grips with the needs of the marketplace - and that requires market research.
This needs to extend way beyond conducting simple employee attitude surveys, and is essentially about acquiring an in-depth knowledge of the issues important to staff. Face-to-face interviews are the best way to understand their perspective on matters. What do they think of the way the organisation recruits? What is their view of training? Are they happy with the working conditions? Do they feel committed to the company?
As the aim is to get a qualitative rathe