‘Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients’- Richard Branson

And it’s true. Which salesperson works well without the right motivation? Be it a good commission structure, flexihours, good holidays, base salary, you know the deal. A positive working environment is more than often a productive one (even though those free boxes of fruit don’t go amiss sometimes) and your internal presentations should reflect this.

Let me take you back to a particularly memorable training presentation that I had to endure whilst working for a well-known retailer a few years back:

I was a student at the time and having paid £3 return on the bus to the unpaid presentation, it wasn’t the most positive start. 7 of us were crammed into a small room with an ancient tv screen hooked up to a laptop. Kicking it off was the ‘team success leader’ (whatever that means), with a suspiciously cheerful expression on his face. The light goes off and we’re plunged into the depths of health and safety slides- what to do in the event of a fire, what to do if a customer falls over and how to pick up a bin safely (it’s by bending your knees, by the way).

The surprising part of this presentation is that it was memorable, but for the topics that came after. A forlorn face appeared on the screen with the tagline ‘Actors have been used to protect the identity of this person’. We followed the story of Janine who had hit hard times, Christmas was coming and she’d spotted a toy that she’d like to give to her toddler in the store. We heard ‘Janine’ tell us how she couldn’t afford it but had gotten the idea into her head that she could hide it in the bins after her shift and collect it after hours. After the dramatic reconstruction of Janine being hurtled to the floor by police with a toy dinosaur in hand, we heard her woes through a teary voice ‘I just wish that I’d thought twice, I now have a criminal record, I’ve lost my job and there are no presents for little Johnny this Christmas.’ I was traumatised!

Don’t get me wrong, I by no means condone theft, however, the thing that struck me from this presentation was the message that my new employer was portraying. It wasn’t just a case of ‘do not steal’ but the emotion that they were trying to evoke through ‘Janine’s’ story strongly suggested that they didn’t trust us. The intention of the presentation was to evoke fear- and that didn’t sit well with me.

The reason that I mention this presentation is that it’s sat alongside my bad impression of the company ever since. I handed my notice in after a few months as the issue seemed to resonate throughout all employees there- a girl crying because she clocked in two minutes late and lost her bonus (regardless of any extra hours she’s worked), the bag check at the end of the day and a smug manager threatening disciplinary action anytime somebody stepped out of line.

This may seem drastic to some, although a lot of the people I’ve mentioned it to have found this to be a familiar scenario.

When considering how to build an internal presentation, your staff should be at the forefront of your mind when deciding the messaging that you’d like to put across. Be this training, monthly reporting or even ‘welcome to the company’, the messages that you send to your employees and colleagues can have an effect throughout your company.

Get in touch now to discuss our CLARITY service on +44 (0) 203 291 3897, helping you develop your messaging to make it the most effective that it can be at the point of delivery.