You’ve landed the nightmare assignment: selling the new mission statement to your company’s employees. “Make it real,” the CEO said, as he patted you on the back and pushed you out the door. Was that derisive laughter you heard as the door was closing? What you need to do is treat your employees as if they were customers. That way, you’ll turn this nightmare job into a communications dream come true. Here’s a seven step process to get you there.
Understand the status quo. Ask questions via surveys or focus groups to determine the ideal vs. the reality. If the mission statement emphasizes quality, for example, how do your employees see your current level of quality? If your goal is to move from number two to number one in a certain market, how do your employees see the company relative to whoever is number one now? Find out early on what obstacles there may be to their buying in.
Determine the appropriate form of communication. Do you need to create awareness, or do you need a major mind shift? Changing employee’s attitudes may require time and a variety of approaches, from peer involvement to incentives. The ultimate goal, of course, is action taken to support and implement the mission, both internally and with customers and the public, Use a combination of employee empowerment, recognition, and rewards to increase motivation.
Design the message. In an engineering company or law firm, rational appeals may be all that are needed. In many other situations, however, emotional and even moral appeals may come into play. Making appeals to safety, especially child safety, works very well for auto manufacturers such as Volvo and tire makers such as Michelin. You need to consider how your mission may appeal to pride, love, or even humor.
Appeals to moral values can be very powerful. If your mission will make products safer or help the environment or contribute to fair treatment for minorities, you have a strong moral appeal going for you. Make it different. Try contrasting your communication with the usual corporate look or style. Use different colors. Try humor.
Select the communication channel. One strategy is to work through community influential. These may not necessarily be the most senior or most powerful people in the corporate hierarchy. Look for communication skills, leadership in team activities, and respect from peers. The company newsletter is always an option, but there are other ways to get the message across. Perhaps a billboard in the parking lot or a video playing in the cafeteria will have more influence. Try creating tapes for the ride to or from work.
Establish the budget. Proper staffing of the internal marketing effort is critical to its success. Another consideration is “promotions”, incentives for employees to make a positive contribution to implementing the mission. You may want to institute recognition programs with individual rewards ranging from plaques to vacations. Bonuses might also be tied to achievements that are linked directly to the mission. Create a strategic plan for internal communications…