According to Harvard Business Review, although organizations are spending more than $100 billion annually to improve employee engagement, only 13% of employees are actually engaged. Those are alarming numbers when you consider that disengaged employees cost U.S. companies $450 to $550 billion per year in lost productivity.
Why are so many employers falling short of their engagement efforts when they’re investing so much? Harvard Business Review explains that while traditional engagement efforts are designed to cultivate employees’ commitment in general ways, employee brand engagement establishes a critical link between employees and customers.
“Employee brand engagement is achieved when employees are aligned and involved with the organization’s brand. It requires the company to have a clearly articulated brand identity and its leaders to cultivate a positive, multidimensional connection between employees and that brand identity. The goal is to make sure employees know what the brand stands for and are committed to reinforcing it with their actions.”
Source: Harvard Business Review
When employees are truly engaged with your brand, they will think and act in ways that produce the specific results your company is seeking. Employees that internalize the purpose of your organization and its values will deliver on-brand customer experiences that strengthen your brand’s competitive position and build equity in the brand.
3 Facets of Employee Brand Engagement
Employee Brand Engagement is all about informing, inspiring, and involving employees so that they want to support and advance the brand. It is achieved when employees are connected and involved with your company’s brand. In order to make that happen, you must make sure your employees know what your brand stands for and that they’re fully committed to conveying your brand’s ideal through their actions.
Employees who are engaged with your brand:
1. Are Emotionally Committed
Your employees should feel a personal connection with your brand that prompts them to share positive information about your business with friends, family members. In other words, they become brand ambassadors who organically recommend you to others.
2. Understand Your Brand Strategy
Your organization’s employees should have a clear understanding of who your target customers are and how your brand stands up against the competition, as well as what makes your brand unique and valuable from the customer’s perspective.
3. Are Involved With Your Brand on a Daily Basis
Your employees should be provided with the appropriate tools and customer data that actively helps them nurture and reinforce the brand on a daily basis, at every single touchpoint. Even employees with only indirect customer contact should clearly understand the importance of delivering on-brand customer experiences.
“This kind of engagement is missing at most organizations,” says Harvard Business Review. In fact, according to A Journal of Brand Management study, 4 out of 10 employees were unable to describe their organization’s brand or how their customers felt their organization differed from competitors. Additionally, Tenet Partners reported that only 28% of employees agreed that they understand their company’s brand values.
Obviously, it’s important for employees to be satisfied with their workplace, enjoy what they do, and to feel emotionally connected to their companies—something employers must consistently work on.
Unfortunately, management, business strategies, and market conditions are constantly changing. That means general employee engagement is no longer enough to keep everyone connected and committed to building the desired customer relationships in ways consistent with your brand. You must, therefore, redouble your focus and efforts in fortifying employee brand engagement.
A study conducted by HR Dive indicates that 75% of employee turnover is preventable. Spending thousands of dollars annually in employee engagement is pointless, however, if it doesn’t achieve the desired results.
Your employee brand engagement efforts must not only produce happy, engaged employees; but they must also develop engaged employees who deliver your organization’s on-brand vision.
It’s important that your employees recognize your company not only as a great place to work but one that also provides an environment that inspires them to make the work they perform great, too. As your employees come to recognize what a great employer you are, they should also see that your organization is invested in building a foundation upon which great customer relationships are built.
Also published on Medium.