As if people weren’t annoyed enough with the image of happy, shining employees in all TV commercials, you can see, even these days, that some companies try to display the same immaculate image, as if nothing was wrong on the labor market these days.
Even if the type of clients I’m working for aren’t very deeply affected by the global crisis, I still find a challenge in talking about means to support company growth.
There are two conflicting trends on the market right now, as far as the employees are concerned: some of them (maybe most) try to prove their skills even more than ever, while others just sit tight, waiting for the crisis to pass them by and hoping to keep their jobs no matter what.
If how to deal with the second category is pretty obvious, how do you motivate the first category to get even more involved and help sustain company brand in times of downturn?
Here are some ways to begin the process of internal brand alignment and improve employee engagement at your company.
1. Hire the best people possible
Those soft skills that fall under the heading of “emotional intelligence” (social skills, controlling your emotions, correctly sensing what others are feeling, etc.) are critical for short and long term employee success. These skills can be tough to identify in an interview but it’s worth making the extra effort.
Labor is the largest expense any business has (and most businesses right now are mostly preoccupied in cutting labor costs), but you have to pay people a living wage and create an environment where people feel valued. If you don’t do this and you manage to hire some good people, they’ll leave as soon as they’re able to.
2. Communicate even more than ever
Educate your staff about your business, your product, and your services. Educate employees on the state of the business, the goals and plans you have. Otherwise, they will not be able to give clients and prospects any kind of relevant information that they might need in order to stay/become clients.
3. Be consistent with statements and rewards
Make sure your employees really feel that what you call a company value is treated as such. A great example is when you say things like “Teamwork is critical” and then you promote the person who can’t seem to get along with anyone. Allow employees to show other points of inconsistency, and this will help you pick up important tips on the type of image you should display in and outside the organization.
4. Help employees do their job
If one of your corporate values is excellent performance, then you need to have staff trained to perform that way.
In addition to formal training, providing top of the line equipment and supplies sends the message that the staff is important and they deserve the best tools. Your marketing efforts may attract customers, but the experience they have with your employees is what will bring them back again. It costs much less to get an existing customer to do business with you again, compared to the cost of obtaining a new customer.
Converting a project-based customer into a long time customer and then build your brand on referrals from happy customers requires dedication to provide an outstanding customer experience with every interaction. Investing in your staff is one of the best ways to help your company do just that and should be a critical part of your overall brand strategy.