Using marketing techniques to increase employee engagement

Marketing and PR without a doubt are more advanced than Internal Communication, they existed longer and made several mistakes until they perfected (if there is such a thing) the way they reach their audience. They were permitted to make mistakes and explore because they have the backing of the leadership teams and because their success means more profit for the organisation.

As an ex-marketer I am a huge advocate of applying marketing techniques when communicating with our employees. To help you start thinking as a marketer here are some of the tips I found most interesting provided by Filza Naveed from ContactMonkey and Janine Marchi from Workgrid.

Tip #1: Customise your employee experience

1.      In today’s AI, VR, Mobile apps it’s impossible to grab employees’ attention. This is why you need to make them feel special by personalising your content. Take Coca cola’s 2013 personalised bottle names for example. To date this campaign was their most successful so why can’t we as IC do the same? To help us personalise our campaigns we could segment our audience based on business unit, region, roles, and even demographic (I know the last segment might be tricky and not politically correct in some org).

2.      Another example of how to customise your employee’s experience is Starbucks’ customer loyalty and reward app. The app is designed for each customer and updates them on the latest promotions and rewards. In internal communication this could be replicated into an employee app where their full info will be present, what kind of discounts they can get from other retailers or like Netflix/Spotify they will see content based on their past reading habits.

3.      As Internal communicators were not yet on top of personalising emails, unlike marketing our emails are generic with no tailored subject line of body, and no push notifications if there is an employee app. This needs to change and we need to think of what our audience want to hear, when and how without making assumptions. 

Tip # 2: Grab your employee’s attention align the IC to a customer like experience

1.      As individuals we tend to like a consolidated stream of news because this enables “information snaking”

2.      80% of employees get their information from a mobile app through “on demand consumption”, we tend to consume information when we want and it doesn’t need to be just now and then. This is something we need to keep in mind when creating employees app.

3.      CHAT BOTs are increasingly being used in IC where employees would verbally say the topic they wish to read about and it appears. This would result in less noise and more targeted content as it can be integrated into your intranet.

Tip # 3: Gamification is one of the most successful ways to increase employee engagement

1.      Gamification uses scoring, rewards, competition in a workplace setting. 90% of employee are more productive if gamification is introduced in their workplace.

2.      Before you introduce gamification ask your employees about what drives them, understand what is your IC end goals are, communicate the purpose of the game, and test/ adjust constantly

3.      Sales force for example used Gamification when launching their new CRM programme where the sales teams started as hunters hunting chicken then the more they scored the more dangerous was their pray.

Tip #4: Harness Intelligence

1.      AI will help your information to be delivered in the right time, to the right person, using the right channel

2.      There are three types of intelligence/automation which we can apply in IC 

  •  Simple automation: when X happens do Y. for instance when employees have a work anniversary send them an email to wish them a happy anniversary. This data is easily gathered with the help of HR.
  • Intelligent automation: this is where more than one system needs to be linked and an action and results to another action for example there is a town hall event in your London office and from your data you see that there are 10 employees traveling from other offices to the London office, you can send them an email asking them to come and attend the event
  • Artificial Intelligence: this is where you need algorithms to make calculated predictions. For example when entering a specific regional office you will receive a txt telling you about all the events taking place in the office and where are the best places to eat as a visitor.

I hope the above takeaways from the webinar helps you think as a marketer. My top tip will be to try and harness the technology that your marketing department is already using and use it to your advantage when communicating internally.

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Gihan Hyde
Gihan Hyde is an award winning corporate communication expert with a deep passion for internal communication. Her roles spanned different organisations including HSBC, Barclays, M&S, and Department for International Trade, and the Riyadh Metro Project.
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