WFH: marketing opportunity - or the demise of your company culture? It’s up to you

By Mark Hollander on Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Last week Schroders announced their 5,000 employees worldwide will never have to come into their offices again. In the words of their CEO, Peter Harrison ‘the contract between society and business has changed forever’. And he’s right.

For marketers this adds another new challenge to the shopping list. That of ensuring that the culture, values and behaviours that define us as teams, departments and brands are just as present in a more virtual world. Cultures that were previously shaped by physical town halls, the layout of the office, making new joiners welcome and myriad events from conferences to charitable team activities. One thing’s for sure. Zoom calls and emails alone won’t cut the mustard.

If we want to rebuild a sense of belonging, pride and engagement we need to rethink internal communications. This will be a critical factor in driving motivation, productivity and retaining our best. If you don’t, everyone becomes a freelancer working from home who could just as easily work for your competitors. Anywhere in the UK (or abroad), without even needing to relocate from their desk.

Internal communications, often the less glamorous member of the marketing mix now becomes one of the most important. So what are the issues to focus on?

  1. Are your marketing mission, vision and values still relevant and waterproof in a less ‘physical’ environment. Or do they need to be reviewed and re-envigorated?

  2. Temperature check. How are your people? What are they missing most about their previous corporate existence (information, feeling more conjoined, structure?) and what are their greatest needs (personal development, contact, stimulus, mental wellbeing)?

  3. Replacing the ‘physical’. How can the events, the town halls, the small details and values that separate you from your rivals continue for all in the new world?

  4. Innovation in communication. Zoom and email are not the only fruit. Create cultural online hubs, podzines (newsletters people can listen to from home), live q and a sessions with your CEO/management, virtual marathons for charity and more. Creating a unique strategy, tailored to your values and ambitions.

And if you need independent help on this, as more and more clients realise this growing need, just whistle.