Your communications strategy is the key to successfully embedding your company mission, philosophy, personality, vision and values – collectively creating your employer brand – and transforming employees into engaged ‘brand champions’. The humble stick of rock is a great analogy for how you need your employee communications strategy to behave to make that work.

Like the writing that runs through rock, it shouldn’t matter where you choose to examine your communications; the brand message must prevail throughout, clearly and consistently.

Research conducted by the Global Survey of Employee Response revealed in 2006 that 82 per cent of employees agree that communications should explain the company’s vision, and 87 per cent want to be shown how they fit into the company’s vision. The important thing to remember is that employees aren’t just receptive to aligning themselves with the business vision and values at the attraction, recruitment and on-boarding stage – people always want to feel a sense of belonging, that they have an active part to play in the organisation they work for.

There are numerous opportunities to communicate with your employees every day, all of which have their own agenda, purpose or required action. These internal communication touchpoints occur at all stages of an employee’s lifecycle, at all levels of responsibility and within all areas of their daily working lives.

It is vital to make sure that the grand sum of all these different threads of communication complement one another and form part of one overarching, unified employer brand message.

Tips for delivering a unified employee communications strategy

– Tone of voice: every brand has one. Having a document which outlines the employer brand tone will act as a bible to all internal communicators to help focus messages
– Employer brand champion: make sure everyone knows who is the main port of call for all employee communications queries
– Keep communicating: to keep employees ‘on message’, you must keep up a consistent flow of communication to ensure your staff are never left in the dark
– Be careful what you say: erratic, sporadic, poorly aligned or complicated messages will confuse employees and could create anxiety. Communicate with purpose and as plainly as possible
– Be organised: structure a calendar of proposed employee messages so that you can identify any potential communication clashes well in advance and adjust your plan accordingly
– Remember why you are communicating in the first place: your message may be regarding rewards, but the primary reason you are offering rewards in the first place is to drive employee engagement and therefore improve employee productivity. Always bring communications back to their commercial roots
– Build meaning: infuse purpose and values into your communications strategy to foster a culture of enthusiastic employee participation
– Earn manager buy-in: the penetration of brand values throughout the organisation is key, and manager buy-in is essential to achieve this. Your communications strategy must empower managers as well as inform to inspire them to champion the brand to employees

Source: Living the Brand, Nicholas Ind, 2008

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