Tag: internal communications

Employee engagement at BDHT: Doing it because you want to, not because you’re told to

A couple of weeks ago I shared a picture on LinkedIn of the ‘Little book of Thank Yous’ my husband had brought home from his annual staff conference with employer Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BDHT). It got 20 Likes- many of which were from people I am not directly connected to. I like to think I started something that went viral!

Joking aside, I was quite surprised at the response. Here’s the post:

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I think the positive reaction to this piece of internal communications which included a bold statement that it qualified as #CommsHero work, perhaps shows how immature the concept of employee engagement still is.

Companies have long recognised the ‘happy staff = happy customers = profit’ cycle but despite this, many still fail at identifying their key internal messages and communicating these in a way that resonates with the workforce.

In my husband’s case, his employer’s message was one of thanks. BDHT’s book of Thank You’s contained small but powerful ‘favours’ in return for all the hard work of the staff, for example an extra hour in bed and a cup of tea made by management. For my husband, this translates into good feeling, into appreciation of the recognition, into wanting to carry on being effective at his job so he can continue to work in partnership to achieve positive outcomes for customers. It really does go very deep.

Internal communications should be treated with as much, if not more, importance than external communications. If you’re trying to drive forward a new company culture, a set of values or ‘way of doing things’, you need to approach the ‘campaign’ in the same way as any customer or corporate marketing with stages of analysis, planning, execution and evaluation. It’s about knowing your audience, developing appropriate messages, choosing the most effective mix of communications tools and testing awareness and engagement so you can be sure when it is no longer a ‘campaign’ but is truly embedded.

My husband’s company are also very good at being consistent. His Personal Development Plan contains questions like: ‘How can you contribute to BDHT’s success?’ and ‘How have you been able to develop BDHT to feel like ONE team? What would you like to do?’ I am also told that the Chief Exec has a genuine ‘open door’ policy. BDHT has successfully created a clear vision for the organisation where staff feel they can personally grow, where their wellbeing is really important and they can give something back to the communities BDHT works in.

BDHT personal development plan
The BDHT Personal Development Plan

What is your internal communications like? Do you effectively engage your staff? Would the way they speak about your company to their friends delight you?

Let me know about the best piece of employee engagement communications you have seen by leaving a comment. 

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How brand values translate into profit

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Open the brand-values-profit model here

We all know that happy staff means happy customers but how do we get our employees to engage with the brand and ‘live it’ so it translates into profits for the organisation?

Firstly an organisation needs to decide what its brand values are and then stick to them. Your values tell your customers what your organisation is about; “what it’s like around here”; what you do and how you do it.  Consistency is key and continually reinforcing your brand values will permeate your colleagues’ minds more effectively than a one-off poster campaign.

Brand values should be strong enough to recruit and retain the right people in the first place.  If a job candidate doesn’t demonstrate a passion for the brand then don’t let them pass through the interview stage.  Once they’re in, if the values ‘fit’ then you have a captive audience.  It’s when the values do not represent the truth that you have a problem on your hands.  Staff won’t engage with posters saying “we value our customers” if they know it’s not true.  

When your values are ‘truth’ you need to communicate, communicate, communicate.  You need succinct, timely, regular, appropriate messages that speak to your staff in a meaningful way.  Keep communication about values short and simple. Be creative but not for creativity’s sake- choose the message first and not the medium.   

Effective internal communications is all about opening a dialogue with people, in this case, your internal customers.  Encourage your staff to challenge the values if that is what they feel they need to do in order to engage.  At least they are thinking about the organisation’s values and as long as you embrace openness and transparency you can effect change, eventually embedding the values in your colleagues’ actions.

When communicating the values you should segment your audience and target and position messages using the same expert skills you would with external stakeholders.  Don’t ignore the feedback and remember that the grapevine can yield more fruitful insights than any formal reporting mechanisms. 

Measure the effectiveness of any values communications so that you can find alternative routes if messages are not getting through.  Act on your evaluation otherwise staff won’t feel listened to.

Fundamentally if staff feel connected with the organisation they’ll be able to make the right decisions that enable them to deliver quality services. This is then self motivating and satisfying which becomes a perpetual cycle leading to happy, loyal customers and ultimately profits.

How do we get employees to live the brand? Involve them in its development, communicate, encourage difficult conversations, listen to feedback and act on your evaluations.  Colleagues will feel engaged and motivated which for business leaders means profitability.