As a consumer, I don’t consider myself completely brand loyal. However, I recently noticed that there are certain brands I go back to again and again. And I realize that the same reasons those brands earn my loyalty can be applied to employee communication. If you apply three key principles—convenience, consistency and personalization—to your internal communication efforts, you’re more likely to get through to your employees.
It’s 3:00p.m. and I’ve hit a wall, but I don’t have a lot of time to get much-needed caffeine. Instead, I quickly hit two buttons on my phone, run to the Starbucks on the corner, pop into the store, grab my Frappuccino and pop back out. Without waiting on line, interacting with a barista, processing a payment or wondering how they will spell Alyssa, I am back at my desk in less than 10 minutes. This convenience is important to me (and Starbucks knows it).
Employees want the same convenience. They don’t want to spend time looking for information when they need it, so it’s up to you to make it easy for them. For example, if it’s time for benefits enrollment, create a dedicated microsite or app that houses just the information employees need to enroll.
White House Black Market: Consistency
If you stand in my closet, you can clearly see how much time I’ve spent in White House Black Market (WHBM) stores over the past few years. The reason? I always know exactly what to expect. The style, quality and sizing of WHBM clothes haven’t changed since I started shopping there. In addition, I know the salespeople will always be helpful without being pushy.
Consistency is also critical when communicating to employees. If they read about a topic on your intranet, what they hear from their managers should match. For example, before you communicate to all employees about a new efficiency initiative, host workshops to brief managers about the topic.
Stitch Fix: Personalization
First, the email arrives in my inbox: “Your fix is on its way!” A few days later, I see the box in front of my door and I rip into it like a kid opening a present on Christmas morning. Inside I find five new items of clothing selected by my personal stylist just for me. This is Alyssa’s fix—no one else’s—and for that reason, I look forward to receiving it.
Employees will pay attention to communication that feels relevant to them, so create communication personalized to each employee. For example, create a compensation tool that lets an employee manage financial planning based on his or her unique situation.
Starbucks, White House Black Market and Stitch Fix may not be your favorite brands, but I’m willing to bet that you can use your own great customer experiences to help create communication that engages employees.