What’s In It For Me?

Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 7 July 2015

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This is the sixth submission in an 11-week series on how to launch an employee engagement program. Last week I spoke about message architecture and laddering. In this post I will discuss the importance of WIIFM (What’s in it for me?).

Generally, it is the second step of the message architecture process where the focus is on why the employee should care enough to embrace the message and communications that are being conveyed by the company. For the message to have personal relevancy it should answer the question at all levels, “What’s in it for me?”. The message should provide meaning, relevancy, and be motivating enough that the employee should take interest and consider why they should change their behavior. Making work important and relevant in their lives can make the difference between working in a company that is successful and engaging versus one that is mediocre and boring.

As I mentioned earlier in this series, it is imperative to keep your audience in mind throughout the employee engagement process, and it is especially relevant for this message development. Consider the fact that by the year 2020, half of the workforce will be comprised of the millennial generation. This dynamic should be considered in the communication tactics created in this step, as the tone and delivery vehicle of your messaging should be tailored to your target; whether they are tenured veterans, or newly graduated entry level employees.

How to get started?

Begin with identifying key themes and messages that you need to convey. Then take a sample from a variety of employees. Ask them why obtaining the company goal within the communications would make a difference in their lives? Why should they care? What would make it motivating and inspiring enough to change their behavior?

Capture their ideas and thoughts and put their responses into compelling stories and examples of how the company has demonstrated that it delivers on its promises to the individual employees. If the company says improving quality will improve sales performance, and that will have an impact on employee compensation and opportunities, then make sure you say so. Show them examples of where that has occurred. Demonstrate that obtaining a goal can indeed have an impact on their lives.

Effective internal brand marketing and communications requires a message architecture that clarifies why the company is conducting the program, followed by why it is important to the individual employee, and finally, a description of the new behaviors that are required for the change to take place. Without prescriptive communication that is action oriented, there is no reason for any of the employees to ever change behavior.

We have lots of examples where we’ve done WIIFM message ladders for clients around the globe. If you would like to see some examples and have a discussion on how to get started please let us know.