You’re walking down the street and every step you take is one meter long. How …
Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
Buffy, Willow, and Xander.
Luke, Leia, and Han.
Some groups just work better in threes.
Three is the number of perfection, or completion. It is referenced throughout multiple faiths, including Christianity’s Holy Trinity, Buddhism’s Three Jewels or Treasures, and the Hindu Tridevi. It is used in countless mathematical equations and finds its place in art, music and literature, not to mention brand.
However it is fair to say that HR, Comms and Marketing would not be the most obvious example of a perfect three. That said, I believe there has never been a more important time for this to be the case.
We all know that happy employees make happy customers. If your people are happy, engaged and have a purpose, of course they are going to go that extra mile for you and your customers.
So the question for many of us is, how do you create a culture that makes people care enough to go that extra mile? How do you create a culture that connects people emotionally? A culture that makes employees feel compelled to protect and advocate the brand?
Joe Pine, one of the people who coined the phrase “experience economy,” talks about the importance of creating experiences in the retail industry to drive similar behaviours in consumers.
Retailers need to understand that the experience is the marketing, that the best way to generate demand for the merchandise is through an experience so engaging that people can’t help but come to the stores, spend time with them and then buy the goods basically as memorabilia for the experience that they had.
Source: Visionary Marketing & Innovation
From an employee perspective, the journey has to be both consistent and cohesive. Early on during the on-boarding phase, it has to be as good, if not better than advertised through the EVP/ EB. Then later, as employees there has to be a continuation of the overall ‘promise,’ delivered through Moments That Matter.
Download our employee engagement eBook to find out more about Moments That Matter
A great example of Moments That Matter, is the current lockdown. Many people choose their employer based on the alignment of their own values with those of the organisation. In other words, during the lockdown they will expect their employers to act and make decisions that reflect those values.
It’s therefore fair to say that the way organisations deal with their employees and customers during the lockdown will have a lasting impact on their brand for years to come. Word of mouth is now so critical to brand perception, that organisations can no longer afford to be inconsistent or unauthentic. Employees, job seekers and customers have never been more demanding of the truth, and are willing to sing from the hilltops if they find an organisation (or individual) that they believe is insincere in their actions or communications.
When it comes to customer experience, It’s worth taking a look at Hubspot, who pride themselves on delivering and educating the world on best practice ‘customer experience’.
For anyone who doesn’t know Hubspot, they are the company who invented the term ‘inbound marketing,’ and they are one of the fastest growing SaaS (software as a service) companies in the world.
I saw one of their founders, Brian Halligan, talk at Saastr last year in Silicon Valley. I remember listening to Halligan talk about the importance of a consistent experience as customers move through the buyer journey. He described how, in this new world of social media, reviews sites and generally more consumer choice, software subscription companies need to deliver incredible experiences to their customers all the time, not just when selling and on-boarding them.
Halligan also talked about their product journey, how their early customers used Mailchimp for emails, Google for analytics, Zendesk for customer support and Hubspot for CRM. He explained that It became difficult to deliver “the Hubspot experience” to everyone when they didn’t own the entire ecosystem.
Interestingly, Hubspot has long since advocated the importance of aligning Sales and Marketing teams.
Not aligning your Sales and Marketing teams isn’t just unhelpful for the customer — it’s also damaging to your bottom line.
But do we need to take this one step further, do we need complete alignment across the three core departments of People, Customer and Brand?
Organisations have become obsessed with procuring multiple bits of software for each element of the employee journey. I am not denying that some of these software applications are really good (you would hope so for the price tag). But the real question is, do they actually add up to a better employee experience?
Below I have listed just some of the systems (excluding Recruitment, HR operational and office suites software such as Microsoft 365), that organisations use across HR and Comms.
Most of the software vendors providing these solutions focus on one core area, or they bolt on lite functionality from others. You may find an employee advocacy platform with lite internal communications functionality. Or you might find a survey provider that cuts across L&D, an intranet or chat provider that links to other 3rd party applications through out of the box integrations.
But does having multiple software vendors solve the real world problems that HR, Comms and Marketing have today?
Notice how many of these pain points reference the need for insights into how people strategies impact external outputs i.e. Advocacy, business performance, corporate kpis.
So here lies the problem. If the goal really is,”Happy employees make happy customers,” then how can you know what’s working and what isn’t if your People, Customer and Brands strategies, teams, data, tasks, actions, insights all sit on completely different systems?
In my previous blog Breaking the HR Marketing silo I already discussed the benefits of these 3 teams working closer together from a strategic perspective.Marketers need HR and Comms to help them engage employees and reinforce the company mission, vision & values, to ensure that the brand (it’s people) are aligned, happy and healthy. Click To Tweet
However I would argue that like Hubspot, we can deliver better business results through a consolidated platform.
The beauty of having one platform that marries your HR and Comms to company and customer outputs, is that you see all of your data side by side in real time.
For example, when you put internal communications alongside continuous measurement of employee engagement, you can see which internal content really resonates. Not just from a vanity metrics perspective (likes, comments and shares), but which piece of content actually impacts employees psychologically. For internal communicators, this represents meaningful data that can be linked directly back to ROI.
Similarly, as you start to see engagement levels go up in certain groups of employees, you begin to see the psychological drivers associated with advocacy (Belief, Fulfilment, Integrity, Alignment) Source Visibly Culture Gap .
Download our culture gap eBook to find out more about the psychological drivers associated with advocacy.
Real advocacy is not something you “do”…it’s a byproduct of when you get everything right in the employee or customer journey. So if you are not measuring these psychological drivers in real time, how can you possibly know if your employees are inclined to advocate, or at least the way you want them to?
If your employees are advocating, shouldn’t you be measuring how this impacts your brand perception in real time?
If your employees are showing signs of higher engagement, shouldn’t you be measuring and comparing with your NPS (customer XP) in real time?
Shouldn’t you be measuring how your learning and development impacts your team engagement, and culture alignment in real time?
The more we look, the more we find countless gaps in the way we are linking our people, customer and brand strategies.
Organisations all over the world are looking to cut costs, they are looking to downsize teams and automate as much as possible to reduce the risk of bloated headcount in the face of another pandemic.
But there could be another way to operate, adapt and grow faster and better.
Instead, consolidate your bloated software stack, and save a tonne to invest back into your people.