08 Dec 2017
What can content do to heal poor morale?

What Can Content Do to Heal Poor Morale?

Things such as company restructure create vast uncertainty among customers and employees. “Efficiencies” are announced in the form of redundancies. Rumours and fear permeate the workforce and stakeholders. Those who survive are left wary and exhausted by the upheaval. It makes the process of moving forward even more challenging

Content marketers are often focused on solving customer problems. Brands want to communicate something meaningful to them. To create a connection that inspires enthusiasm and loyalty.

However, the content marketers’ skill set can be applied to solve a range of business issues, including staff morale. Since your staff are the people interacting with your customers, it’s a crucial next step.

If your company is rebuilding after a structural change, strong internal content goes a long way to healing wounded employees, framing events in the past as necessary for the future, and getting everyone to understand their role in that future.

This is more than just internal comms. These typically strive to keep people informed but are often constrained by not saying the things people want to know. A content marketing approach to internal restructure and external positioning takes a different turn.

For instance, a struggling company leads to declining investment: staff are not replaced, business hours are reduced, customer service is cut, output quality declines, deadlines are missed. The result is even fewer clients, less investment…

Pretty obvious where that ends.

Rising From The Ashes

These circumstances call for a reputation rebuild – with customers and employees.

Rebuilding a broken brand takes time, energy, investment. It starts with workplace culture. Fix that and there’s a good chance that enthusiasm and optimism create new opportunities. Sounds all a bit drippy, I know. But the vision of merely cut, cut, cut, close, is hardly a path to prosperity.

So how can content contribute to culture change, mend reputations, position a brand, and provide lead generation opportunities?

  • Brand messaging sessions to allow employee input into what the company stands for and where it is going. This provides valuable clarity and collateral for sales teams who front the market.
  • A brand story that tells all stakeholders about the company’s origin, its contribution to the market, and how it continues to evolve with industry trends to ensure prosperity and stability.
  • New sales kits for teams to present decks that tell a story about customer successes.
  • A new website full of customer-centric content that showcases thought leadership, strategic advice, tactical advice, and a treasure trove of information that is valuable to customers and prospects.
  • Internal comms that showcase company talent, culture, and industry success.
(We’re) Branded

Being clear on your brand messaging means no employee is on their own. Or fills in the blanks themselves. A brand messaging session brings together groups to decide on the shared language that describes what you do. This provides a clear mission. When people know what they’re doing, and contributed to articulating it, they’re highly energised.

What’s the story?

A brand story gives definition to your values, history, industry contributions, and vision for the future. It’s a great way to reignite some pride with employees by showing context around the origins of their brand. Every brand has a great story to tell about humble beginnings, growth, evolution. Employees love to feel part of that and provide fuel for productivity. If they believe in the brand they become advocates, not just employees.

The evolution component of a brand story helps position a business for change. This allows you to show customers that change is a natural part of the DNA of any stable company.

A new brand story allows you to send some signals to the market that this company is changing. It will be a key part of the conversations as you mend any broken relationships that happened due to lack of resourcing.

And employees need to know that if they’ve just experienced the rough end of changes and redundancies and general neglect, and that the bad times are behind them. Evolving is a part of their storied history and new future.

Print and bind the brand story as a book to feature in foyers, sales kits and customer gifts.

Ooh, it’s a new website

A website refresh for a broken business sounds like putting a lick of paint when you need renovations.

It is a signal. A new website, in conjunction with structured business changes, shows your commitment to care and investment. If you’ve been happy at work in a functional Lowes suit and suddenly turn up wearing Tom Ford, people will notice and keenly observe what’s next with you.

The new website comes with a content strategy, including the brand story, thought leadership blogs and case studies. Again, nothing mind-blowing, but if you’re starting to take a leadership role on issues affecting its industry, then thought leadership blogs serve to establish some authority.

Case studies on your new website obviously showcase your capabilities. This can be a problem if you’ve suffered from poor performance. This is a chance to find some work your brand has done to create customer success.

Show them the difference

If your workforce is exhausted from doing more with less – and doing none of it well – there’s a chance they won’t notice the foundations you’ve laid for future success.

This is where some good internal comms can help.

The emphasis is on ‘good’. Most internal comms are either bad news or just rah-rah ridiculoso.

A heartfelt pitch from a senior manager can inspire confidence. Needless to say, it’s best if this expert comms comes from an expert rather than the actual manager.

Sounds counterintuitive, right? It’s gotta be authentic, surely.

Nope. It’s got to be good. It’s got to achieve the desired outcome. So, don’t let pride get in the way. Bring in your best writers to craft something that tells employees what you’ve done, why you’ve done it, and what the expected benefit will be.

Hitting the right message and tone can help transform a workforce – in conjunction with the other measures above. This final comms piece can spark the fire of passion in a workplace craving change.

Hard-headed spreadsheeters might not appreciate the power of inspiring people if all they look at are monthly numbers. But business benefits come from inspired people.

An invigorated workforce has a spring in their step to confidently position the company to its customers.

Good content has a clear role to play in creating a new future for any organisation.

If you can inspire a beaten workforce to deeply feel like it has a new future, there can be a real transformation. Only then can the business benefits flow.

How have you used content to transform a workplace? Let us know in the comments.