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What is the value of internal marketing for your organisation and employees?

Zimkhitha Mqutheni

Steve Ford, chair of OI Partners, once said: “Employees make career-related resolutions much more often than bosses. However, the top resolution that workers make each year is to find a new job. If more managers resolved to develop their employees’ leadership skills, invite their input, demonstrate continued interest in their careers and recognise their contributions, fewer workers would be determined to find new jobs each year.” So will internal marketing put an end to our staff turnover woes?

When we talk about internal marketing, the question that comes to mind - for a lot of employers – is: “Why we should market ourselves internally? Our employees know our brand, we know our brand as do our stakeholders.”

Internal marketing ensures that your organisation is well represented externally by those who work for you. Once your employees join your organisation, they want to:

  • Live your company’s values and experience the culture first hand,  
  • Get involved in driving your organisation, and
  • Be the best brand ambassadors for your organisation.

Develop internal structures that speak to internal branding

Internal marketing, in some organisations, ends with the induction workshop. However, entrenching your company’s brand in your employees’ minds, and building brand loyalty, takes a lot longer than a one-day or one-week workshop. In addition, marketing to your employees must be the joint responsibility of your line managers, supervisors, marketing and communications team

How can I effectively market internally in my company?

Organisations which have a culture that allows innovation, employee involvement and engagement, and gives recognition encourages employees to speak proudly about the company they work for.

This translates into employee retention which speaks volumes when an outsider evaluates a company’s stability. The Monster/Unum study of job seekers determined that:

  • Over everything else, 87% of employees want a company ‘that truly cares about the well-being of its employees’, and
  • By contrast, only 66% of respondents rated a high base salary as very important.

The 2011 Unum survey - with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services - canvassed HR executives’ opinions on this issue, with similar results. This research found that corporate culture is critical to:

  • Driving engagement,
  • Recruitment, and
  • Retaining a quality workforce.

To build your brand in your company takes:

  • Leadership, and
  • A good internal communication plan that seeks to inform, motivate and educate your staff members.  

HR initiatives – such as rewards and recognition programmes for service excellence - also play a crucial role in showing that you recognise your employees for a job well done.

Internal marketing starts from the first day of work so if you create a negative first impression, this will usually stick in your employees’ minds…

Zimkhitha Mqutheni is the founder and managing director of Ukhanyiso Communications. She is a freelance writer and communications specialist. Her interest in communication is in steering the brands to deal with their core before dealing externally.