How well do you “brand” your corporate initiatives?
Everybody understands the impact of a powerful consumer brand. Think Tide, Starbucks, BMW, Apple, FedEx, Geico…the list goes on and on. So why is it so many companies put so little creativity into branding their most important employee initiatives?
Nobody will debate that engaged, energized, enthusiastic employees deliver better bottom line results than a disenfranchised, distracted, or debilitated workforce. Yet many organizations deploy half-baked all-employee communications, training, rewards and recognition programs with minimal leadership support, and clip-art creative. Why the disconnect?
One possible reason is that consumer brands have a direct sight-line to a measurable return. But so do employee efforts designed to improve productivity, sustain engagement, encourage retention or spark innovation. The KPIs of a sound, effective engagement strategy may not be as broadly understood, but the financial ramifications are no less real.
Could it be that there is an embedded bias that employee engagement is an ideal, not an objective? Does the C-suite believe that cultural drivers are “soft” metrics, lacking financial implications in the near-term? Or perhaps it is considered easier to assess and analyze consumer marketing data than it is to come to terms with real-time employee attitudes, choices and behaviors?
Either way, my recommendation is to build a vigorous and creative communications plan to drive awareness, interest, trial and adoption of the core elements in your employee-targeted efforts. Make them visible, interactive, catchy, social, memorable, and easy. Use posters, static cling, dimensionals, electronic, and print media. Create an identity that resonates. This isn’t that hard. It just is too-often overlooked or viewed as an expense item, waiting to be cut.
If you want your associates to refer potential candidates, participate in a wellness initiative, carpool, engage in learning activities, attend a company meeting, support a common cause, brainstorm new product or service enhancements, or simply show up for work on Mondays, you need to enlist their emotions. One-off communications, emails, bulletin-board memos, soulless communiqués and the like won’t get it done. These approaches send a message to the employees that they just aren’t worth a little creativity, polish and fun.
Your marketing and branding groups work hard to get consumers to love your products, and tell all their friends. Do the same for your employees. Remember: they are what make your consumer relationships possible.