In a time dubbed as The Great Resignation, when employees are unsatisfied with their workplace and boss, finding ways to retain and attract talent is crucial. In this episode, Dave Mastovich discusses the solution to improving employee engagement, which involves driving culture, building trust, aligning the team and differentiating your company through business-to-employee marketing and business-to-employee storytelling.
It’s the No Bullshit Marketing Show. I’m Dave Mastovich, CEO and founder of MASSolutions, the world’s only no bullshit marketing consultants. Recruiting, retention, results – how B2E is the antidote to the great resignation. What’s B2E? B2E is business-to-employee marketing and business-to-employee storytelling. It’s about connecting, reaching, motivating, communicating with current and prospective employees.
I want to give you a couple of statistics. 43% of employees plan to leave within the next 12 months. That’s from an ITA research report of what it takes to engage and retain talent. 43% are already planning to leave within the next 12 months. 58% of employees would rather trust a stranger than their boss. That’s from a Harvard Business Review survey. 58% of employees would rather trust a stranger than their boss. 82% say productivity suffers because of the communication being poor or non-existent, up, down and across your organization. 82% feel their productivity suffers because of communication or the lack thereof. That’s from a Global Intelligence Benchmark Report.
Those three statistics make the point of how important retention is. 43% are thinking of leaving within the next 12 months. Recruitment – 58% would rather trust a stranger than their boss, we want that to build trust in our relationship through storytelling. Results – 82% feel their productivity suffers. What is B2E with respect to all this? B2E is changing your mindset about current and prospective employees when it comes to marketing to them, and when it comes to storytelling to them. It’s about the employee engagement solution where we’re going to drive culture, build trust, align the team and differentiate your company. We’re going to drive culture, build trust, align the team and differentiate you. And having a B2E marketing plan with specifics and leveraging the science of storytelling to tell your B2E story can do just that. It can drive the culture by talking about your mission, your vision, your purpose, your core values. It can build trust, because we build trust when we relate to each other. We relate to each other through stories. So storytelling can help build trust, it can align the team by communicating better and understanding each other more, and understanding our how and why of each person. It helps with alignment, that 82% feeling that we’re not aligned. And it can differentiate you because what you want to have happen with your employees is you want them to understand enough about your story, your anecdotes, your analogies, that they can become de facto members of your marketing team. So how will you do business-to-employee storytelling? I’ve got seven steps that you need to follow. I’ll walk through them and give you a little bit of feedback of how it’s worked, and where it’s worked, and how it can work for you.
The first step of your B2E marketing and storytelling involves intentionality. You need to commit to treat current and prospective employees differently. You need to commit to B2E being a major approach, business-to-employee. You’re either business-to-business or business-to-consumer or both. You’ve committed to that, you’re intentional about that. Now you have to be intentional about business-to-employee marketing and business-to-employee storytelling. I have a client who took that intentionality seriously. They committed to B2E. What they did was they had the leadership team at the senior level understand all of what I’m talking to you about today and worked through that they were going to commit to it, because it meant change behaviors at the top, middle, and all of the team members. And they committed to it, they were intentional about B2E. And as a result, over the past two years, they’ve been able to communicate differently, and change that culture slowly, but clearly, and they’ve built trust. That’s step one is intentionality. Committing to B2E.
Step two is your drill down. If you’re a business-to-business or business-to-consumer, B2B or B2C, you look at your customer segments, your client segments, and you’ve drilled them down with some degree of variables, probably only three, most people kind of stop at three words. I challenge you to get to four, or five, and even six as a stretch goal. But you probably got three variables, maybe four, for your customer segments, their clients segments, ‘oh we’re B2B, and we’re healthcare related with companies in the East Coast that do $50 to $100 million in annual revenue and that purchased home medical equipment.’ Those are some variables from a business-to-business standpoint. Business-to-consumer, ‘we’re trying to reach women 18 to 25 years old, live in this area, have this mindset and purchase this type of product regularly.’ You’ve done that. You’ve drilled down to some degree, again, probably not as much as I would like you to drill down to, and you’re probably not using the four or five, six segmentation model that we talk about so much here at MASSolutions to get your segments drilled down to an actionable level that really makes a difference. But I’m sure you’re doing pretty well on your B2B and your B2C segmentation, your drill downs. Have you drilled down your employee segment, current and prospective employees? Have you drove that segment down to a point where you can do a marketing plan and campaigns around it, where you can tweak your story based on it? The odds are no. And so the second step is the drill down. Multiple clients have been able to quickly see three or four employee groups that have some trends around them, that have some commonalities and have some variables. And once that’s done, you’re able to pick the channels to use and the words and phrases and visuals to use. So that’s how you do step two, the drill down.
Step three for you is to systematically gather insights and feedback from employees. Insights about and feedback from employees. So how do you systematically gather insights and feedback? Well, you’re asking open-ended questions. This isn’t just simply sending out a couple of surveys through Survey Monkey. This is taking the time to have questions that make sense that are open-ended, three to five of them. Ask them in a qualitative fashion. Track what you see. Even though it’s qualitative, you’ll start to see trends. Then yes, also use some Survey Monkey quantitative surveys, but systematically gathering insights about employees is also looking at where they consume content, how they consume content, what resonates with them. Those variables you looked at, how did you slice and dice it? What did you learn when you did the segmentation of your employees? That’s step three of your B2E marketing program.
Step four is building your storytelling opportunity inventory. Your storytelling opportunity inventory. This is taking an inventory of who, where, when, and how you’ve now segmented your current employees and your prospective employees. You’ve got the who down, then where and when, and how can you reach, connect and engage with them? There are so many storytelling opportunities that you’re leaving on the table because you haven’t done this inventory where you took a look at when employees are in the office, where do they pass, things that they see, where do they consume content? Where did they congregate to chat? Where did they talk? What about your zoom meetings in the hybrid fashion? What’s happening on the Zoom calls? How often are you using anecdotes and analogies to tell the company story, to tell your MVP, your mission, vision and purpose, to talk about your core values? To talk about what your differentiators are, and what makes you stand out and why customers buy? How often does that come up to get people talking during the tech and talk of your Zoom or Teams call? Had it happen today – it was nine minutes. Got on a big call with eight people from three different companies. And the first nine minutes were involved with a little bit of small talk and two people had tech problems. I call it tech and talk. Well, what we say is to overcome tech and talk, just jump right out with an open-ended question that ties to storytelling, that ties to anecdotes and analogies to get employees talking about what they do, what their peers do, what other departments do, how they perceive a core value. Instead of wasting that tech or talk, which inevitably happens 5 to 10 minutes of 90% of Zoom calls, Teams calls. You now leverage tech and talk by making that a piece of your storytelling opportunity inventory. That storytelling opportunity inventory will actually list the opportunity, the audience, the channel, the frequency that it occurs. Could be the break rooms, could be the cafeteria, it could be the hallways, could be the beginning of Zoom calls, it could be a town hall meeting, could be every staff meeting has some tie in to the culture and core values. It could be an all employee email, it’s all these different channels that are going to work with the drill down that you did in step two and the feedback and insights you got in step three. So step four of your B2B marketing program is building your storytelling opportunity inventory. Client after client says, wow, this was an eye opener, I didn’t realize all of these opportunities we weren’t maximizing.
Step five, then, comes to leveraging the science of storytelling. With each of the stories that you want to tell the major stories, whether that’s 3, 5, 10 major stories that you’re going to build anecdotes and analogies around, with each of those, you want to use the science of storytelling. You want to figure out what is the goal of this story? What are we trying to fix? What problem are we trying to solve? What opportunity are we trying to maximize? That goal has to be clear. Who is the target audience of this story? What behavior and mindset do we want to change? Then we want to talk about that audience and the struggles and the barriers they’ve overcome, who helped and how, the lessons they learned, wnd what that final big idea is to convey about that particular storytelling opportunity or that storytelling challenge. Why do we do those things? Because that follows the science of story of how we process stories, even when we don’t know we are. We look at the focal point person of that story. We try to understand what their goal is, who the target audience they’re trying to reach is, what barriers and struggles they battled through, who helped them? What were the lessons learned, and what’s that final takeaway? So use that science of storytelling to build your major B2E stories, your anecdotes and analogies that will drive culture, build trust, align the team and differentiate you.
Step six, then, is building the strategic B2E marketing plan. You’ve gone through and found all this stuff out through your insights, your feedback, your analysis, you’ve done your drill down, you’ve done your storytelling opportunity inventory, you started to leverage the science of storytelling to have anecdotes and analogies. Now we’re going to formalize the B2E marketing plan from a strategic standpoint and a ‘get it done’ standpoint. We’re going to have accountable parties and goals and milestones. We’re going to have pulse checks and regular interviews to see how it’s working, what needs to improve, what needs enhanced. That’s step six: Build the strategic B2E marketing plan.
Then step seven is work the plan – implementation. Someone has to be the project sponsor, someone has to be the project manager, someone has to drive that, but there’s accountable parties all throughout for who’s telling the anecdotes and analogies, where they’re being told what’s happening, how it’s being tracked.
When you follow these seven steps and build your B2E marketing program and your B2E stories, you will see a dramatic difference because it will drive culture, it will build trust, it will align the team, it will differentiate you. All of that helps with your recruiting, and your retention and your results, your productivity will go up. So you won’t have 43% of the people planning on leaving within the next 12 months. You won’t have 58% of people saying ‘I trust a stranger walking down the street more than my boss’, and you won’t have 82% of people saying, ‘boy, if we could just start communicating better our productivity would soar.’ That’s how recruiting, retention, and results, and cultural change and top and bottom line performance can improve once you commit and you’re intentional about building and implementing your business-to-employee marketing program and your business-to-employee storytelling.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can benefit from B2E storytelling and B2E marketing, visit MASSolutions.biz/B2E. Thanks again for listening to another episode of the No BS Marketing Show recorded here in MASSolutions studio in bold, beautiful, downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Remember, ask yourself, what’s the big idea? And build your story around the answer. It’s all about bold solutions. No BS.