You go out to lunch with them, vent to them, and stand around literal or proverbial water coolers with them. They’re you’re coworkers. If you’re in the world of internal communications, they’re also your clients. Lunches turn to question-and-answer sessions about benefits; venting about system error messages is directed at you; and water cooler banter becomes a forum for employee engagement discussions.
Yes, things are different when your audience is an employee population rather than an external market. With that said, they must be treated the same. They deserve the same level of empathetic, reliable, and timely service. They create value, and they should in turn be valued.
This is one of the reasons the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Program is a perfect fit for anyone communicating to internal audiences. It takes a very client-centric approach, promoting a detailed understanding of the behaviors, attitudes, and needs of consumer segments.
I have been particularly excited about my next course, Internal Brand Communication, because it will be highly applicable to the campaigns I lead in Human Resources (HR). The reality, however, is that every course I have had thus far in the program has helped me enhance my role as an HR communicator. Here’s how:
- Introduction to IMC: The program’s first course lays the framework for consistency in communication. This consistency is important to the HR department, as they must be a recognizable, trusted voice. It is equally essential for the department’s messages to fit into an overall communication strategy that furthers the organization’s mission.
- Marketing Research and Analysis: It is important for organizations to keep a finger to the pulse of the people. Are employees reading and responding to communications? What opportunities are there to increase understanding? How does the workforce feel about the organization as a whole? Questionnaires and engagement surveys are some of the tools this course helps practitioners deploy.
- Brand Equity Management: The basis for the HR communicator lies in promoting and protecting an organization’s internal brand. This course puts this in context by emphasizing that a brand is the perception that exists in the mind of the consumer (in this case, the employee). It can also prepare professionals to ensure the internal brand supports – and is supported by – the external brand.
- Creative Strategy and Execution: Daily, employees receive urgent email requests, countless voicemail messages, and lengthy meeting agendas. From the HR department alone, they are inundated with policy updates, newsletters, benefit reminders, training materials, and more. This course shows how to increase readership by producing messages that “break through the clutter.”
- Direct Marketing: The focus of direct marketing is on utilizing client databases to drive targeted communications. HR communicators maintain files of current employees and retirees, and must work with them to create distribution lists. This course can help you organize, utilize, and scrutinize data for your entire organization in a secure manner.
- Emerging Media and the Market: New forms of media hold great potential for the world of HR. Blogs, for example, can provide a window into employee perceptions. Social media outlets can support the onboarding process. This elective analyzes these opportunities, while offering caution as to how emerging media can be equally detrimental to employers.
- Healthcare Marketing: As wellness programs continue to grow in popularity as part of an organization’s Total Rewards, this elective is incredibly relevant. The science behind the curriculum shows how theories of behavior change can help associates adopt and maintain positive lifestyles. This can provide a significant opportunity for employers to control healthcare costs and increase worker productivity.
- Visual Information Design: Everything that comes from the HR department – or any department for that matter – should be impeccably designed. Benefits information should be digested at a glance. Training guides should be easy to follow. Internet and Intranet sites should be readily navigable. This course shows you how to improve the look, feel, and overall user experience. Your employees will thank you.
- Sports Marketing: Measurable objectives take center court in this elective, as they do in the arena of HR. From hiring to retention to addressing the employee engagement discussions at the water cooler, it is important for the HR professional to set goals and demonstrate achievement. And, of course, the coursework helps make you well-versed when the water cooler chat shifts back to sports.