How Financial Firms Can Help Employees and Clients Find Success
As a communications professional, you strive to add value to your organization and provide excellent communications to employees.
But sometimes, external and internal challenges can complicate things and leave you wondering where to start.
Communications and content expert Ben Eyler has a simple suggestion to help you focus your efforts: Concentrate on making your employees and clients successful, loyal, and happy.
- Identify the Challenges
Ben has identified five main challenges facing financial firms.
One constant is change—and it’s happening at breakneck speed. The financial services industry is experiencing changes in technology, tax rules, regulations, and business practices, all at an accelerated pace.
In addition, organizations have become diverse and dispersed. Employees are from different generations and backgrounds, and are working in geographically dispersed offices, so their perspectives can vary widely. Furthermore, different departments and jobs have different functions, priorities, and goals.
Today’s employees also are expected to do more. Too often, when an employee leaves an organization, whether, through layoffs or reorganization, the position remains unfilled. Colleagues must pick up the slack, which can cause confusion, resentment, and burnout.
A particular problem in the financial industry is that culture is inward focused. Culture plays a big part in how employees feel about the company and can make a difference between a successful company and one that’s struggling.
Financial services firms often have an inward-focused culture — either looking at their own organization or at their industry and competitors — rather than thinking about employees and clients first.
Finally, the clients’ expectations are higher than ever. Gone are the days when unsatisfied clients stick with a firm out of tradition or loyalty. Clients expect more from businesses, brands, and organizations than ever before.
- Deploy Communications Strategically
But it’s not all bad news. Ben discussed how to use employee communications to address these challenges by focusing on employees and clients.
In an environment of constant change, companies need a way to anchor themselves to their core values and identity. Focusing on helping clients and employees succeed is a strong foundation for internal communications. But you also have to be sure you’re keeping up with changing regulations and rules, especially around legal and compliance issues, and also with developments in the economy and markets. This will help protect your company and maintain the trust that employees and clients have in you.
In terms of addressing your diverse, dispersed workforce, EC can help connect employees to each other and make sure everyone is on the same page. But because employees and departments are so varied, you should segment and personalize your EC to best communicate your message.
In addition, you can use EC to clear up confusion about projects and responsibilities when someone leaves and to streamline and simplify how employees receive information, which can free up their time.
Tailor your communications so that you’re sending employees only the information that’s relevant to their role and department. To do this, make sure each piece clearly answers the employee’s questions: What’s happening, and when? Why should I care? What do I need to do?
This is what Poppulo has been specifically designed to do – it’s the platform’s raison d’être.
To help shift toward clients and employees instead of taking an inward-focused approach, rid your communication pieces of jargon and organizational speak. Make communications straightforward, succinct, and easy to understand, and eliminate anything irrelevant, confusing, or exclusionary.
Finally, use what you know about your clients and customers to meet their expectations. Look at metrics like net promoter and client satisfaction scores to learn where your firm is connecting with clients and where there’s room for improvement. When customers tell you their preferences or priorities, follow through and apply that in all areas of the relationship. That attention to detail will engender loyalty.
- Set Employees Up for Success
It’s easy to forget that the way a company communicates with employees affects clients, too. Employee communications often make their way to clients—sometimes by physically landing in a client’s inbox, but often in the form of employees using the same shoptalk from some EC piece to describe a new product to customers.
As Ben said, “The way we talk to each other is the way we’re going to talk to clients.” So, when we give employees clear, succinct, persuasive messages, they’re going to pass those along to clients—and they’re going to be more successful. And providing these kinds of resources shows employees that you value them and you want to help them be effective at their job.
So, by tailoring communications to employees’ and clients’ needs and preferences, you can help make them successful, loyal, and happy. For more information and ideas for implementing this foundation in your organization, check out Ben’s Poppulo webinar, “Financial Firms’ 5 Key Challenges—How Internal Communications Can Make a Measurable Difference.”