We’ve got something to say.

ROI for Internal Marketing Campaigns? It’s in Putting Employees First

By Lisa Laine Miller and James Gabriel Brown, co-founders

In talking to marketing and communications executives, one of the questions we ask is “what kind of internal marketing do you do?” And the answer is almost always “oh, we don’t do much with internal marketing. Our employees aren’t the ones buying products, so it’s hard to make a case for spending the money.”

Well that may be true, but when you consider that payroll is typically an organization’s largest expense and the talent of employees is (or should be) an organization’s greatest asset, that sentiment seems a bit short-sighted. After all, no organization or company can survive without talented, engaged and successful employees.

Unfortunately, many organizations throughout the country have that mindset of customers first, employees last. And it shows. The Gallup organization recently released their “State of the American Workforce” report. What is most striking about the report is its statistics on how most employees feel about their current jobs: only one-third of employees currently feel engaged at work, and 51 percent of workers are looking for a new job, or at least actively watching for openings.

Think about that. Over half of employees have one foot out the door, ready to leave at the next available job opportunity. And the two-thirds that are not engaged? They are toxic, negative and unproductive, and are bringing the rest of the engaged staff down with them.

An investment in a great internal marketing strategy has the power to transform an organization’s culture so that employees are engaged and excited about their work. Productivity increases, absenteeism decreases and the team is functioning at a high level, helping the company to meet and exceed business goals.

These all sound great, but as marketers, we know there is constant pressure to prove return on investment (ROI) on any campaign, and ROI is best presented to executives in numbers and actual dollar figures. Below are a few ways to incorporate measurement into your internal marketing campaigns to show value:

Consider employee recruitment and onboarding costs: Hiring and getting new staff in place is expensive. Did you know the average employer spends $4,000 and 52 days to hire a new worker? And that’s just to get the new person in the door. It doesn’t account for costs to onboard, train and get the new person comfortable enough to where they are working at a productive level.

When you’re making a case for investing in internal marketing, take into account your organization’s current level of turnover, and explain to executives the savings that will be achieved by reducing this number. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be keeping top talent working in your company.

Ask employees about their current attitudes toward their job: Sure, part of life is just showing up. But are employees just coming to work and trying to make it through the day? If that’s the case, your team is not engaged, not productive and not excited to help further your company.

Surveys are a great way to gauge employee attitudes about their job and the overall organization culture. Do people feel valued? Do they believe they have a career path in the organization? Do they enjoy coming to work and feel like they play an important role in the mission? Do they feel supported and that the company invests in their success? These are all questions that are indicative of how engaged employees are in their work. Lower levels of engagement and satisfaction drain productivity, and as a result are a waste of resources. But higher levels of engagement mean that your team is performing at a high-level and helping contribute to meeting your business goals. Do a pre-survey to measure current attitudes, and then send out follow-up surveys to see if your internal marketing efforts are moving the needle.

An organization’s team is its biggest asset. And happy, engaged employees become brand ambassadors for your company. So why should employees be treated as less important than customers? We believe investing in employees is always worth the cost.

At LaineGabriel, we love working with internal HR and communications teams to develop internal marketing campaigns that engage employees, build brand ambassadors and help retain the top talent for the organization. Contact us to talk about our work in this area or learn more.