By Jason Nochlin
A good marketer’s job includes promoting and selling products or services by tapping into a target audience’s emotions. If a product or service is marketed as a means to simplify communication with customers, then the marketing should help potential customers tap into the emotional benefits: the joy of successful collaboration and the elimination of pain points.
Employee engagement is no different: You need to tap into your employees’ emotions. Many companies forget to focus on this aspect in their internal marketing campaigns. Some ways to establish and maintain that emotional appeal is to hire and train good leaders who can encourage great work and provide valuable feedback and have them serve as resources to draw from for your internal marketing. It also helps to offer flexibility and opportunities to lead: even if those opportunities only come up on a project-by-project basis. After having some discussions with a customer of GaggleAMP, John Pope, CEO of Jive Communications, here are four marketing tactics you can use to increase employee engagement that I derived from our conversation.
1. Create content that recognizes and rewards.
As marketers, we’re so focused on creating engaging content for customers and potential customers that we often forget to put time or energy into our internal communications. But this is a big mistake.
Employees need to know that you care. They need to be reminded that their efforts are appreciated. There are a variety of tactics you can employ now to create inspiring content for your employees: Consider sending out monthly birthday updates, recognition announcements, "big wins" newsletters, “Tip Tuesdays” hosted by an employee, and/or any excuse you can find to promote employees’ successes. Keeping everyone updated and informed lets employees know they’re important members of the company as a whole and also shows them that they’re not just a cog in a machine.
2. Plan memorable events.
Marketing your company-wide events (or smaller team events) to the proper channels is another way to improve employee engagement. It generates excitement within the company — or within a specific team — and it’s a great opportunity for employees to get to know one another better. Celebrate the small victories, the achievement of huge goals, and throw in some team-building exercises along with the events.
If your company sets annual company-wide goals, consider celebrating progress toward those goals monthly. Take the company to see a movie, host a lunch or hold a friendly TopGolf competition when you experience a big win or a milestone is met. Let your employees know that all of their efforts are recognized and valued. Forming good relationships and feeling appreciated, respected and challenged is the recipe for creating happy, engaged employees — and planning memorable events is a key ingredient.
3. Launch an employee advocacy program.
Employee advocacy programs are not only a way to give your employees a definite platform that they can use to share their feelings and experiences, but it also gives them greater ownership in the company. As they share posts on social media about their company, they can see the direct impact of their engagement, which ideally translates to increased sales and ROI.
Receiving rewards for these efforts doesn’t hurt, either. My customer, for example, pointed out that his company has seen a huge increase in online traffic -- and their bottom line -- thanks to their employee engagement program (which my company hosts). As employees share news, blogs and other content, they receive points that can then be transferred to the company store where they can buy company-branded jackets, hats, journals, water bottles and much more.
4. Show recognition in a big way.
While internal communications are crucial and company-wide emails should without a doubt recognize employee accomplishments, it helps to find other, more personalized ways to make employees feel special.
Get creative. Have custom t-shirts, posters or other exclusive swag made to recognize individuals for their achievements. Find out an employee’s interests or hobbies and reward them with a fitting gift or gift card. Take a winning team to lunch to celebrate top performers. You could even hang a banner across the front desk of the office or create a short video to flaunt successes. Start showing recognition today. This kind of internal marketing is a great way to motivate and build employee engagement.
Employees want to enjoy their jobs, and it’s easier to do so when they’re forming good relationships, receiving rewards, recognition, thanks, and when they feel like they’re a valuable member of the team. Whether you choose to maintain healthy company transparency through great content, host fun and memorable events or employ an employee engagement program that sticks, you can do your part to show your employees that you care.
Co-Founder & CTO at GaggleAMP, creating solutions that activate employees as digital citizens within and externally to their companies.