Before I get to the heart of this post, I’m thrilled to unveil my blog’s new look! I’ve been working on this for the past few months with graphic art designer Karin Choi, who’s extremely talented AND patient. Bless her and all creative design professionals who work with clients like me who know what we want, yet can’t articulate it. Thanks, Karin!
This week’s internal marketing message
Our current economic meltdown has given rise to a new urgency on engaging employees. Here are two perspectives on this issue.
In this month’s Tom Peters Times, consultant Valarie Willis reminds us that “the talent is the brand.”
“It is the talent in an organization that brings its brand to life. If the talent are no longer happy, if they are concerned about their own welfare, or they’ve hunkered down to stay out of sight, the brand may be on its last breath as well. And when the brand is struggling to survive, the impact is on the customer experience.”
To minimize brand dilution, she recommends organizations realign and reconnect the brand promise, employees [AKA “talent”], and customers.
In his white paper, Engagement and Appreciation in a Time of Crisis, Maritz employee engagement consultant Mel Van Dyke also acknowledges a growing number of employees are suffering from anxiety about job security and financial well-being. It’s hard to engage folks who find themselves on the lower rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. To address this challenge, Van Dyke offers employee-focused appreciation and recognition strategies.
“Thank you can never be said enough, especially now … Acknowledging not only the environment that key employees are now facing but also their individual contributions to success is a great way to keep employees focused on a positive work experience rather than an external labor market.”
Although their specific coping suggestions vary, both Willis and Van Dyke advocate the need to be more attentive and responsive to employees. We can’t afford to ignore our employees – those we’ve chosen to retain as well as those who’ve chosen to stay with us. We need their ideas, support, and perseverance to get through this financial mess.
I think one of the best ways to encourage engagement in tough times is to clearly communicate what the company is doing and where it’s planning on heading. An authentic, honest explanation of “the plan” can go a long way toward engaging those who might feel like the bottom can drop out at any moment.
Love the new look and love this post!
If you look deep into the ‘academic’ literature on ‘marketing during recessions’ you’ll find a fair bit of text on the internal communications/taking care of employees elements as being important to marketers – possible more important that some of the external components of recessionary marketing. A lack of confidence makes it hard to smile and perform – instilling as much confidence (through frequent, honest and transparent communication) is the way to go!
Sybil, it was certainly a pleasure to work with you and a delight to watch the transformation of your blog unfold with your direction. It looks great and I would be pleased to work with you anytime.