Internal marketing – not just external – is the key to overcoming the “big resignation”

We are, some say, in the midst of a “big resignation”, with employers around the world losing staff and struggling to replace them. This makes internal marketing more important than ever, says Strawberryfrog agency movement manager Liza Haffenberg.

We often think of “marketing” as external efforts directed at a brand’s customers. But this short-sighted association overlooks the power of marketing to one of the company’s most critical audiences: its employees.

For too long, internal marketing has received little, if any, attention. It was treated as an afterthought rather than a central part of a holistic marketing strategy that, when executed correctly, could be the defining factor between brands and businesses that thrive and those that falter.

Taking a people-centered approach is key. The pandemic has been a major cultural disruptor, disrupting the way we do business – both in terms of communicating and connecting with consumers, but also between us as colleagues. This puts into perspective how important the humanization of our workforce is. And it uncovered gaps as many organizations seemed out of touch with their employee satisfaction factors. Gone are the days when employers could appease disgruntled employees with higher pay. People want to feel a sense of belonging, a connection to the work they do, and a higher purpose.

The “great resignation”

A recent survey by Prudential found that one in four workers consider looking for new jobs after the pandemic. And a Monster poll found that 95% of workers are considering at least one job change. As employees of all ages, industries and geographies are leaving their jobs in droves, it’s worth understanding what makes them want to stay; what makes them work harder; and what encourages them to want to connect and get involved in their organization.

Many of these questions and more can be answered by applying marketing and consumer thinking within an organization. Traditionally, brands have prioritized marketing investments to optimize the customer experience. But we’re starting to experience a cultural shift where companies see real added value in optimizing the employee experience – and find that better business outcomes often follow. Not only do employees deserve it, consumers demand it. According to a recent report, 49% of consumers prioritize brands based on how they take care of their employees.

A new type of marketing

Increasingly, we see the power of the goal in driving consumer purchasing decisions, which has changed the way organizations view their branding and external marketing efforts. Why not apply the same thinking inside the walls of a business?

It is high time that organizations devote as much, if not more, of effort and investment to the employee experience as they do to the customer experience. After all, it’s the employees who are responsible for delivering the customer experience. For this, it is essential to develop a talent path that spans the lifespan of the moments that matter throughout the career, both professionally and personally, from integration to retirement. Large organizations are leading by example, taking inspiration from customer-centric marketing to create an internal culture of trust, respect, appreciation and connection opportunities. After all, it’s impossible to deliver a great customer experience unless the employee experience reflects that.

Activate people by purpose

Organizations should treat employees as important stakeholders deserving the same level of attention, resources and strategic thinking traditionally given to external stakeholders. They must foster an environment based on connection, collaboration, open dialogue and trust. And they need to implement a new kind of internal marketing, which expresses their mission, articulates their brand’s purpose, and reinforces the role each individual plays in helping the business succeed.

Fostering a dedicated effort around employee engagement can have a halo effect, with positive ramifications across many facets of an organization – from recruiting and retention to brand confidence and through to bottom line. Employees who believe in the brand and understand the company’s vision and goals and the opportunities they have to contribute to the bigger picture are often inherently armed with the resources they need to deliver value to companies. potential customers. By leveraging marketing and consumer insights, you can really help your employees become much more motivated, enthusiastic, and eager to make a positive impact through their work.

Marketing inside to make it last

Adaptability has replaced stability as a central strategic imperative. To survive, we must approach complex business decisions with an openness to new ways of thinking. After all, the best leaders are ready to rewrite the norm, accept new expectations, and accept unfamiliar challenges. And the best marketers are the ones who are willing to be agile, listen to what’s going on in the culture and among consumers, and find new ways to connect with people, both at the same time. inside and outside their organization.

We must see employees as consumers before they are employees; and remember that first and foremost they are humans. Only then can we better understand what motivates and inspires them. By simply leveraging the same consumer insights and marketing principles that we have long applied internally, we can completely reinvent employee engagement and communication. Applying a mainstream marketing lens to your internal marketing efforts can result in more motivated and loyal employees, as well as some of your most powerful brand advocates, positively impacting your bottom line. .

Shirlene J. Manley