We’ve all heard the old saying, “Bad news travels fast”. But so does good news! You, as an employer, could possibly be sitting on a branding gold mine by having engaged and happy employees! Outside the office, your staff are parents, baseball coaches, and community leaders who are empowered by the value others place on their opinions. A good conversation gets repeated…and works its way into the community and culture through social media, by word of mouth on the street…when folks meet for coffee/lunch/dinner with friends, community volunteering, soccer practice…the circumstances are endless! So, how do you get your employees to spread the good news? I read recently on Forbes that, according to the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, “Employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO, or Founder. 41% of us believe that employees are the most credible source of information regarding their business.” When a client interacts with one of your employees, this is an opportunity for grass-roots, word-of-mouth brand advertising about not only your product or service, but also about your workplace environment in general.In a nutshell, beyond happiness, employee engagement is the amount of discretionary effort an employee will give at his/her job – their willingness and ability to “go the extra mile”. It is an employee’s involvement with, commitment to, and satisfaction with work. This level increases through key drivers such as great leadership, connecting with a company’s mission/values,communication, recognition, development/training, a great culture, etc.How does a company achieve this type of employee? There are several drivers an employer can implement to increase the level of engagement in their employees, thus creating the culture that will get these folks talking up their company, in addition to increasing productivity and effectiveness. First of all, when hiring, assess and select the right people for jobs not only based on skill and talent, but how well he/she will fit into your culture.
Speaking of culture, build a killer one! Culture can impact just about every business metric. It’s crucial to retention because employees don’t want to leave a great culture. It is key to recruitment because applicants are chomping at the bit to work there.
Because it is essential for and individual to know an develop their strengths, provide them with development opportunities, training, mentoring… this will go far when they are “out there” talking and communicating…boosting your brand grass-roots style!
One final thing I cannot stress enough…when your company is going through organizational changes, whether large or small, please plan and communicate way in advance…and during the change, keeping the staff in the loop. You won’t believe what this type of transparency does for you in the way of trust!
Of course, these key drivers and strategies barely just “scratch the surface” of what makes an engaged workforce, but – they are good starting blocks!