Engaging Your Employees As Brand Ambassadors
Every brand needs ambassadors to grow and thrive. Granted, you’ll want your customers to rave about your organization, but there’s an even more powerful resource right in front of you — your employees. If you can engage your current workforce and transform them into ambassadors, your brand will soar to all-new heights.
Notice that influential brands like Apple, Disney, Nike, Google or Starbucks have one thing in common — they’re all great places to work. They know that culture drives success, so they’ve created an environment that makes going to work enjoyable for their employees. They also make certain every team member understands how crucial their role is to the organization’s overall success.
Could your organization benefit from a suite of enthusiastic brand ambassadors? Of course. To that end, here are the five keys to engaging employees.
1. Determine what success looks like.
- Develop a strategic plan, and be sure to chart success and measure benchmarks along the way. A good start is to create a three-year plan that includes measurable goals for each year.
- Be crystal clear on your mission and vision statements, and make certain your employees know who you are, why you do it and why others should care.
- Give each employee a brief elevator speech to ensure message continuity.
2. Communicate your goals.
- Involve the whole team in strategic planning efforts, and inform them how they can contribute to success.
- Invite everyone to offer an idea for improvement, be it a creative concept, new process or enhanced technology, and find a way to implement each idea.
- Openly discuss ways employees can be effective brand ambassadors in both organic and intentional situations
3. Get creative.
- Constantly ensure your employees know they’re your brand’s top asset. This breeds respect and makes them more apt to tell others about your brand.
- Think of creative ways to make the time they spend at work more enjoyable and validating. Consider offering:
- A robust benefits package
- Wellness programs
- Extra paid time off
- Professional development opportunities
- Flexible schedules
- Bring your dog to work days
- Whatever appeals to the majority of your staff
- Ask for suggestions, select three to five core offerings, and make them cornerstones of your brand.
Google, for example, provides free health and dental, complimentary haircuts and dry cleaning, onsite gyms and “napping pods.” No wonder they get 2.5 million applications a year!
4. Establish what deserves recognition.
- Identify the actions, behaviors, approaches and accomplishments you want to foster and reinforce.
- Recognize employees who achieve these desirables in front of the team and in one-on-one situations with verbal praise or incentives.
- Employees who feel appreciated are not only happier, but also more confident in their ability to contribute.
5. Engage, evolve and listen.
- A significant component of engagement is soliciting and listening to employee feedback.
- Ask for input identifying strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities so you can work as a group to maximize results.
- Use a survey to pose questions, or ask them in meetings or in annual reviews.
- Be sincere, and be sure everyone feels their contributions are heard and worthwhile.
Master employee engagement and you’ll realize a myriad of benefits, including a winning team that flourishes with the knowledge that their employer truly cares for and values them. The result? Happy, engaged employees who’ll proudly serve as your most influential brand ambassadors.