28 March 2018

The importance of insight-led employee comms

After the explosion of deep-personalisation in brand comms last year, Synergy’s Strategy Director, Nicky Clark asks; why don’t employees get the same experience? 

At the start of this year, I knew my most popular Facebook ‘liker’ of 2017, what I was doing this time 4 years ago and my favourite posts of the past year. And I could share and celebrate all of this at the click of a button.

I can grab an outfit for the weekend I’ll love on ASOS’s ‘The Edit’, find songs I’ll like on Spotify’s ‘discover weekly’ and book a tailor-made European getaway with easyJet.

These brands made my life easier because they all recognise the importance of insight. They hold data… heaps of it. And they use this data to match my behaviours, interests and history to their products and services, delivering personalisation in bucket loads. Why? Because as consumers we have high expectations and low patience – when we engage with brands, we want them to give us a personalised experience at every touch point. And if we don’t get it, we’re severely disappointed.

According to a recent Salesforce study, 52% of consumers would switch away from brands that don’t personalise communications and 65% say that personalisation influences their brand loyalty. So it looks like personalisation remains king to marketers in 2018.

Treating employees like consumers

So, why as employees should we be treated differently? Why should we tolerate a broad-brush approach to communications from our employer, who arguably knows us better than any other brand?

It always surprises me the level of investment brands will make in understanding their customers yet lack truly understanding their own employees. Applying the same principles of consumer marketing can help deliver insight-driven people strategies and communications that lands effectively, are right for their business and ultimately, delivers ROI.

Put simply – treat employees as consumers… because we are!

My favourite 2018 marketing campaign was Spotify: 2018 goals, where they focused on #winningbehaviour from 2017 that should ‘serve you well’ in 2018. Digging deep into consumer data they created hilarious headlines such as “Be as loving as the person who put 48 Ed Sheeran songs on their ‘I Love Ginger’ playlist” and “Take a page from the 3,445 people who streamed the ‘Boozy Brunch’ playlist on a Wednesday this year”. Spotify cleverly reflected on the turbulent year we’d endured and focused on instilling a positive mindset for the year ahead. The campaign demonstrated the value in truly understanding your customers.


Ed sheeran

What can we learn from this?

Seek out ‘simple truths’ about your employees.

Discover pain points… and don’t be scared about what you might uncover. This is an opportunity to get to the root of why people feel the way they do and actively look to address this or appeal to their needs.

Bring the employee into your decision-making

Listen to your people, recognise different needs and involve them in the creation of your strategy and engagement activities. Two-thirds of consumers would switch from a brand if they were treated like a number instead of an individual* – people want their voices to be heard and appreciated.

* Source: State of the Connected Customer Report, Salesforce

Get out there

Don’t sit in your ivory tower deploying textbook strategies. Spend time with your employees, understand their day-to-day realities. Because when you do, it opens your mind to new ways of thinking and the best ways to reach people.

Segment your internal audience

To enable targeted, relevant communications and engagement activity. At Synergy, we recommend the 70/20/10 rule – 70% of your communications should be about the individual recipient, 20% about their team and 10% about the wider company.

Personalise your communications

Budgets often don’t permit organisations to personalise everything but there are some simple tricks to doing this. Take a look at your Amazon homepage and count the number of times you see the word ‘you’ (‘your orders’, ‘your wish list’, ‘your history’) – this is something every employer can adopt to bring a touch of personalisation to the employee experience.

Apply an agile approach

In our always-on world it’s important to adapt and respond to changes influenced by both external and internal factors. Today’s employees often work remotely and rely on technology to stay connected – you need to be able to exchange information and collaborate quickly. Audit your current channels, determine what’s working and organise them to ensure they all have a role. Perhaps most importantly, be willing to continually review and adapt your approach with speed.

How can Synergy help?

The Strategy team at Synergy are dab hands at helping our clients turn data into insight and using this insight to inform communication strategies.

Here are some ways we can help:

  • ‘Walking in their shoes’ – in our hands-on immersion programmes we roll-up our sleeves and spend time with your employees to uncover rich insights that lead to strategic recommendations
  • Employee workshops – immersive, fun, creative workshops tailored to understand employees’ attitudes, views and motivations. We’ll gain valuable inputs across topics critical to your people strategy
  • Employee segmentation – demographic and attitudinal segmentation, creation of employee personas and recommendations on the best ways to engage with employee clusters
  • Internal communication audits – a deep dive into your existing communications, with a focus on ensuring you’re using the right channels and content to reach your internal audiences
  • Talent mapping and people analytics – our data analysts will take a deep dive into your employee data, market data and key trends to help you identify and engage with passive candidates, improve recruitment quality, reduce spend and have a commercial advantage over your competitors
  • Leading edge psychology – from identifying what makes your people tick, getting inside leaders’ heads, assessing and selecting talent, to helping retain your highest performers, our independent psychologists apply the very best methods and techniques to ensure insight delivers results
  • Thought leadership – tailored reports on ‘hot topics’, key trends and best practice inspiration for your organisation, to help you stay one step ahead of the game

Seen some other great examples of personalised comms in the workplace? Got any burning thoughts on the future of personalisation? We love to hear from you. Drop us a tweet.

If what you’ve read here has struck a chord and you could do with a hand turning insight into action for your business, get in touch with our Strategy Director Nicky nicky@mccannsynergy.com.uk for an informal chat.

You can read more about how we’ve helped brands including Argos, Vodafone and ODEON Cinemas Group turn insight into action here: mccannsynergy.com.uk/strategy-services

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