Too often organisations look at building their brand externally but forget about the internal aspects, then wonder why staff aren’t along on the journey with them.
If you accept that brand is just another word for reputation, and you’re looking to build your reputation externally, you have to make sure that the way you operate internally is in line with this.
You can’t present as one thing outside and operate totally differently inside, because everyone can pick a fake. More to the point, no-one wants to work for an organisation they perceive as being a fake.
I’d go so far as to say that if you don’t have a good internal brand it’s only a matter of time before everything falls apart, because it’s like an individual trying to keep up a façade; you can’t do it forever.
Two of the key components of a strong internal brand relate to people. There’s the HR side, which is about having the right type of people in the business and training them properly, and there’s the communication side, which means a lot more than just telling those people things.
And these two components can overlap, because if the communication process is as thorough and focused and transparent as it should be, it helps everyone understand what it takes to be a part of the business, and whether they still fit.
That last bit can be tough if it means having to let people go, but it is hard to be successful if you have some employees who, irrespective of their knowledge, skills and work ethic, don’t believe in where you want (even need) to take the organisation, and the image you want to portray.
Sometimes people will make the tough decision themselves. More than once I have worked with organisations going through a period change, consolidation or re-branding where staff have decided to move on because their job, to them, is no longer what it used to be.
So the message is that one of the most important parts of internal brand building is communicating your brand identity to your staff. This needs to be a two-way process; include them in generating ideas and establishing new processes and protocols, and ask for their views. But stick to your guns when you need to.
Sometimes you’ll find the smallest things are important. I remember one instance where employees asked how the bosses expected to present a high quality brand if the staff room was so daggy. A clean up, a lick of paint and a new fridge made a world of difference to more than just the lunchtime ambience!
Have any questions regarding your brand? Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org