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Turning Employees Into Brand Evangelists

Turning Employees Into Brand Evangelists
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Employees are the biggest assets of any organization. Organizations strive to keep them engaged and productive as staff of a company can make or break it. Firms should always motivate their workers through timely and right quantum of appreciation for the work done as they want employees to bring out the best in them. In doing so, employers attempt to establish a positive and healthy brand image within and outside their organizations. Moving a step ahead, the question arises, how can a company make employees their brand ambassadors? Clearly, competitive compensations and benefits make up for a hygiene factor and companies realize that they need to do more to keep their employees happy.

They need to set themselves apart by introducing employee perks and wellness activities. Human resource leaders can choose to focus on employee Rewards and Recognition (RnR) as an essential component of human resource management and the overall business strategy. They can also choose to look upon RnR as an investment with potentials for high returns, instead of as a sundry expense.

Say You Care

Communication plays an important role in setting the right employee expectations. Organizations value their high-performing employees, who are the role models. However, valuing is not enough. Companies need to express this to employees and make them feel important. RnR makes for an effective way to make employee-value proposition. Whether it is the case of recognizing great performers or listening to difficult employees, companies need to customize their RnR across segments of their employees. In order to make employees your brand ambassadors, you need to treat them with rewards that can become their talking points. Apart from perishable valuables, tangible assets and cash rewards, experiential rewards form one such category that creates long-lasting memories in the minds of the recipients. Experiences such as adventure tours, restaurant treats, trips, getaways and attractive health and wellness schemes would make employees feel awakened, learned and explorative. They would feel encouraged to share their memorable anecdotes with colleagues and friends. They would also feel spoilt by the reward options and be encouraged to give their best at work.

Establish Emotional Connect

Experiences render that elusive, personalized and human touch to rewards, the stories of which the employees would carry and share for a lifetime. Such unique rewards help establish an emotional connect between the employees and their organization. Experiences, when given with personalized messages in beautiful, keepsake boxes, not just renders a tangible feel to rewards, but also lets organizations express their sentiments to employees in a subtle yet effective manner.

Technology, too, can play its role in engaging employees. Gamification of RnR that enables customized rewarding, mutual appreciation, instant recognition and prompt redemption on a global scale can bring a positive change to the moods and sentiments of the workforce. Such a platform can help establish a culture of gratitude and excellence among employees, and also between employers and staff. As such, RnRs, such as experiences, and RnR methods, such a technology-based gamification, need to work in tandem to maximize employee efficacy.

Increase Trust And Commitment

Emotional connect is a prelude to developing mutual trust and commitment. Committed employees would project a good image of your organization in front of anyone and thus act as brand ambassadors for your company. An important aspect of developing mutual trust is to set the right mutual expectations and conduct consistent and clear two-way communication. Trust leads to enhanced mutual understanding that nudges the leadership towards a higher level of maturity.

The need to develop trust can first arise in either the employees or the employer. Employers need to ensure that their staff members become brand advocates and they can make the first move without thinking twice.  Communicating the value of employees, developing emotional connect through innovative RnR, building mutual trust and commitment and grooming employees as brand advocates — the onus lies on employers. It’s the business and brand that matter at the end of the day.

In essence, employers need to follow the following four steps to groom their employees as company’s brand ambassadors.  

  • Express that you value your employees and care for their development.
  • Establish emotional connect through personalized rewards, such as experiences and gamification-based recognition tools.
  • Develop mutual trust, commitment and camaraderie by setting the right expectations.
  • Empower employees to stand up as brand ambassadors of the company.

Engaged and productive employees are a company’s best bet to developing them into brand ambassadors. The positive, cascading effect that such brand advocacy brings can lead to realizing multi-fold business benefits, such as an increased employee satisfaction, an improved top-line and bottom-line, and an enhanced customer satisfaction. Indeed, it makes for a great HR goal for organizations to strive to develop employees as company’s brand ambassadors.

 
Edition: May 2017

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