BOH = Begin Over Here

I “borrowed” that headline from Jan Talamo.

In many industries, we use the acronym “BOH” when we want to shorthand “back of house” as if it’s so irrelevant to our work that we can’t even spare the letters.

I’ve been a brand marketer for a number of years. The first of those years was spent in focus groups delving into the psyche and feelings of our customers to develop THE ULTIMATE POSITIONING STATEMENT and some really cool creative. Then, I went to work for Steve Wynn who always told me to put the customer first, both on the experience front and on the communications front. What he showed me was how important the employees are.

Many companies are starting to realize that the brand rubber meets the road with the employee. THEY are the ones we need to talk to. They are the ones we should be developing communications for because they are the ones that will make us successful…or not. Ideally, we would keep them in the loop at all times. I’ve seen many companies do this successfully.

Eddie Bauer maintained a positive employee culture when the going got really rough, by constantly and effectively communicating with employees. Instead of waiting for employees to see Eddie Bauer on the news, they released information to them and the market at the same time. As a publicly traded company, there are many bits of news that have to be communicated in a very particular way. To release information to employees and not violate the rules is a little tricky, but it can obviously be done. In addition, they educated their employees about the business, not just about the product lines. They understood what it was like to be a public company, what covenants and EBITDA were, and basically how the business worked.

Do your employees know that? Do they really share the same values as the C-suite?

I also heard someone from Zappos ask, “Is People Planning the new Media Planning?” Great question. You have to plan great people. Have the right people with the right voice, and you can do anything.

Senior leaders have the power to engage, energize and empower employees. Technology has given us the ability to connect with employees at all levels in order to provide them with messages that are simple, useable and actionable. Employees will be more engaged when they are part of the plan.

Newsletters are a great example of a tool we think is valuable but is often not. Is your newsletter telling the story of your business or is it just a collection of anniversaries and births with a few additional notes about the company picnic?

Look at your employee communications tools today and ask yourself the following questions.
– Is this giving employees the tools they need to deliver the brand promise day in and day out?
– Is this educating employees so that they can be a partner in the future?
– Is this the best way to deliver this message to all of our employees?
– Is this engaging employees so they WANT to be a part of the plan?
– Is this speaking in an understandable language?

I’d love to hear/see examples of great employee communications!

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BOH = Begin Over Here

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