Taking the time (and money) to optimize customer experience can undoubtedly pay off, but many organizations fail to focus on one thing that might prove even more valuable – improving employee experience. A major factor in employee experience is employee engagement, a practice that relies on humanizing your brand and addressing the emotional and social needs of your employees. Prioritizing the human capital of your business can help improve your brand’s reputation as an employer, as well as improving overall employee performance.
More likely than not, you’ve spent time discovering what it is that makes your brand special to your consumers, but have you determined what makes it special to your own employees? If you’re not sure, you can bet they may not know either. Across the board, very few employees can describe what it is their organization stands for, lacking a clear understanding of what sets the company apart from competitors and what it uniquely offers to customers. This uncertainty breeds disengagement, and disengagement costs money… try $450 billion to $550 billion per year in lost productivity among U.S. companies. If you aren’t thinking about your internal brand building, consider that number your wake-up call.
Before you can consider solutions, you have to know your goals. Regardless of what field you’re in, there are some key characteristics present in an engaged employee. Similar to a consumer, when an employee successfully “buys” into your brand they’ll become a natural brand advocate. They’ll share their passion for your brand with their friends and family, having an emotional investment in the work they do and quality of the end result. This sense of brand loyalty also helps motivate employees to help improve the brand rather than wanting to leave at the first sign of trouble. In short, your goal is to transform employees at all levels into passionate brand ambassadors. Here are some ways to help drive this transformation:
Craft a relevant message. When trying to identify what makes your brand special to employees, it’s best to start by taking a closer look at your employees themselves. Let their interests and values help shape your messaging. We’ve talked about the importance of having fun with your branding before, so take the time to find out what your workforce enjoys and use that to create an internal brand they can relate to in a way that feels natural. Foster this message by making it visible and applicable in everyday situations, don’t limit it to a particular time or place. This message can be shared in a variety of ways, and the media used should also be relevant to your employee base. This can include a curated combination of informational videos, employee newsletters, social media campaigns and more. Take your message from “blah” to inspiring by collecting and applying employee feedback, refining the message as needed. Make sure your employees know what you do as an organization (in simple, human terms), and that they can see how they have a direct, positive impact. If someone asked your employees, “So what is it that you do again?” make sure that they can respond with more than just a position title, but a passion for the brand values and culture. Remember, this is a process, not a short-sighted project.
Create happy employees with happy work. Taking the time to improve the day to day experience of your employees can positively impact their overall opinion of your brand. Giving your workforce the tools they need to succeed is a clear display of support, helping employees feel understood and valuable. These tools can meet their emotional and social needs, alleviating stress that may be associated with certain aspects of the job. Staying up-to-date on the kinds of perks and benefits your employees want is necessary. Some common considerations are flex-time offerings and work-life balance. Use surveys and forums to help identify pain points, then reinforce solutions with messaging that reminds the employees that their voices have been heard.