December 27, 2023 / Miles Marmo
Helping Businesses Increase Their Bottom Line By Engaging Employees
How internal brand campaigns increase employee engagement, retention and recruitment to impact the bottom line.
The Importance of Internal Branding
While they may not be an accounting method that captures the positive bottom-line impact of good employee recruitment, engagement, and retention, we know that employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction impact the operations of any organization. Employee engagement improves work culture, reduces turnover, increases productivity, builds better work and customer relationships, and affects profits down the line. High employee engagement also turns workers into your best advocates.According to the latest Gallup report, 51% of employees are disengaged in the workplace, while 13% are actively disengaged. Actively disengaged means feeling miserable at work and spreading negativity to their colleagues. 63.3% of companies say retaining employees is actually harder than hiring them, while 71% of executives say that employee engagement is critical to their company’s success. As the “Great Resignation” continues to linger, it provides an opportunity for brands and businesses to look at their internal practices in order to meet employees halfway. If not, brands will see continued inefficiency that directly impacts their bottom line. Forbes reported that 38% of employees quit within their first year of employment, losing the investment made to effectively onboard those employees. And on average it costs 33% of an employee’s salary to replace them. Losing team members creates further strain on others and impacts morale, while the financial investment to find new talent continues to chip away at profits. In the world of brand marketing, companies historically invest their resources crafting campaigns and messaging to attract customers. While recruitment campaigns are becoming more relevant (Amazon and Dominos, to name a couple, that are taking a talent acquisition approach), they’re still far from the norm. By recognizing how strong an internal brand can contribute to a brands overall health can help companies create a virtuous cycle that not only attracts customers but nurtures a motivated workforce.
Building a Internal Brand
An effective internal brand should serve as the foundation of brand building. It connects each employee with leadership’s vision and the company brand goals. It is the infrastructure that connects employees to the brand while serving as training them to embrace the brand ethos and act as brand ambassadors. It allows a brand to highlight its authenticity and culture, with the ability to spread into different types of outputs, like external messaging campaigns. However, each internal brand starts from within the organization. When employees are true brand ambassadors, they become the living embodiment of the company’s values and mission. In our current age of transparency, it’s what consumers expect to see from brands. That authenticity not only resonates with an audience who is embracing a brand but is a powerful tool in attracting new talent and engaging a current staff. Successful brand building requires a unified and cohesive front. Internal branding lays the foundation for this unity by aligning employees with the company's brand values. When everyone in the organization is on the same page, it translates into a consistent and authentic external brand representation. This alignment not only enhances customer trust but also reinforces the company's credibility in the market. When Agency Squid takes on these types of projects, we interview the leadership team to understand their vision and goals for the organization. We also interview a wide cross-section of staff, keeping their responses anonymous to get a sense of positives, negatives, and where improvement lies. This process produces a state-of-the-organization document that provides a gut check against what the company culture is how the brand is delivering on their mission, vision, and values. The ultimate goal of a successful internal brand is to educate employees about the organization’s vision, future plans, goals, products, and services. This deepens their personal connection on how they contribute to the delivery of the organization goals and turns them into loyal brand ambassadors in the long term. When individuals feel a deep sense of belonging, pride, and purpose in their roles, they’re more likely to stay committed to the company. This can be accomplished in a myriad of ways, from being open about the values of the organization, to professional development, flexibility, a sense of purpose, etc. Where so much focus is on pay (which is incredibly important as well) there are other aspects of an employee’s overall wellbeing that need to be considered. This ties directly to the Great Resignation as, for the first time in history, the world re-evaluated what was important to them at the exact same time. That will differ from person to person, making that internal brand structure more important than ever. When an internal brand is properly put together, it will attract the talent who believe in the cause and deter those who are looking for other needs. Both sides incredibly positive for the brand’s overall health but can be painful in the adjustment process. The beginning of this will reduce overall turnover rates, saving resources and preserving brand institutional knowledge.
Launching an internal Brand Campaign | Internally
The first step to a successful internal brand is understanding the leadership team’s vision and goals for the organization. Through anonymous, one-on-one questionnaires and interviews, we gather their insight from each member of the team. We aggregate the findings into a document and we present that to the team to show where alignment is and if there is any disparity. If there is misalignment in any area, we facilitate a workshop to get alignment. Once we understand these goals, we reach out to a cross-section of staff in all areas of the organization with, again anonymous, questionnaires and interviews to gain staff insight and investigate if the leadership goals align with the staff experience. Again, these findings are aggregated into a white paper. With the data gathered internally, we do a deep dive into how competitors are presenting themselves to their internal and external audiences as well as their recruitment strategies. If possible, we find out salary and benefit offerings. All of this research goes into the crafting of a strategy for the internal brand. Once the strategy is approved, the visualization of the brand is created and initiatives are designed, planned, and executed to achieve the goals of the internal brand. Systematically, employee engagement studies are done to measure if targets are being met and if any part of the brand initiatives need to be refined to achieve the necessary goals.
Launching an Internal Brand | Externally
One the internal brand strategy and the initiatives are beginning to be executed, the brand visuals and messaging are nuanced to be used externally for recruitment. This part of the internal brand is critical to not only help filter the candidates but also to begin to set up expectations on what the employment experience will be and how that experience differs from other competing opportunities a candidate may have. When a successful internal brand is in practice, recruitment is the initiation into that experience and the beginning of a path for the new hire to become a fulfilled, engaged brand ambassador.
Overall, building an internal brand can have a severe impact on the business overall. It can help retain talent, attract talent, and build equity behind the brand in its entirety. By making an internal brand a priority, and combining it with overall marketing efforts creates a holistic brand approach for internal and external audiences alike.