3 Ways to Unleash Your Company’s Biggest Asset on a Small Budget:Jan 28, 2021
Your biggest asset is your employees. If you disagree with this statement please stop reading and go back to your struggling business. Their performance is reflected in the success of the business. A rule that’s not as well known is that employee branding efforts are also reflected in the success of the company.
According to Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, “Employee branding is the process by which employees internalize the desired brand image and are motivated to project the image to customers and other organizational constituents.”
Here’s another way to explain it: Employee branding is teaching employees to talk about the company to customers, candidates, industry and their network. You’re probably wondering one of two things right now, either:
- Why does it matter if my employees talk about the company? Or
- Aren’t they already doing this?
Let’s talk about the first question – why does it matter? It matters a lot because people trust people more than they trust your business and the communications and marketing materials you put out. Your employees are seen as credible sources to their network and the people they engage with on behalf of your business — that’s why you hired them right? This credibility or reputation attracts top talent, customers and investors. Are any of these groups important to you? ...that’s what I thought 😊
Here’s academic research from Kelley School of Business, Indiana University that supports this and also says:
“Effective employee branding programs have several favorable consequences.
✔️ First, they enable organizations and their offerings to be effectively positioned in the minds of customers and other organizational stakeholders.
✔️ Effective employee branding programs also result in increased employee satisfaction and reduced staff turnover.
✔️ Companies engaging in successful employee branding efforts are also likely to benefit from higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, and a favorable overall reputation because the desired brand image is being consistently reflected by employees.”
Why does this matter even more in 2021? Because it’s VERY cost effective. If your marketing budget has been slashed this year or you don’t have one at all you can still use your company's biggest asset (your staff!) to market and build relationships with customers.
But wait - aren’t they already doing this? The answer is maybe and no. To be clear, employees clicking “⤶ share” on your company’s social media posts or saying they work for you at industry events is not what we’re talking about here. The difference between these actions and employee branding is enthusiasm and know how. Effective employee branding is when your staff demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for the company and its products or service AND are tuned into company-wide goals and can share them with people.
So how do we achieve this? I want to share with you 3 ways you can unleash your employees and their brands on a small or even $0 budget.
- Tell your employees they are powerful — and mean it. Make it crystal clear that their employee brand matters to the company. Your employees might not fully understand that the way they talk about the company impacts what people think about it. Ask them how they explain the company and their role in it. Take the time to learn about common questions, concerns and praise they get about the company. Collect this information and use it to create employee brand training.
- Train them! Schedule time to bring teams together to train them on company brand assets. This would likely be led by your marketing and communications department. They can share the company’s mission, vision, values, goals, and key messages. They can also create messages to help employees answer challenging questions. Social media training applies here too!
- Evaluate what’s working. Are employees saying a message, product, service or activity (e.g. corporate giving) is getting a lot of attention? Share that with all staff members along with the key messages around it. Don’t forget to share this insight with marketing and corporate strategy too!
You’ll also start to see some employees do really well with employee branding. Express your gratitude and find out what they need support for in the area so they can continue. It might be a smart idea to really invest in their brand and have them speak on behalf of the company at conferences or the company’s social media accounts. There are lots of things these shining employees can do to benefit your company.
If you want your company to succeed - and I know you do - it’s time to empower your employees and unleash their message! Don’t take for granted that this is happening or it won’t be effective. Remember to first explain the concept of employee branding and your belief in them, then provide training, and always evaluate and adjust based on what’s working or not working.
Give me a 👊🏾👊🏿👊🏼 if you’ve seen the power of employee branding!
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