Make them your customers and create valuable brand champions
Think about the time, effort and resources that your company spends to create customer preference. Now, how much do you invest in hiring and retaining employees? Often it’s a heroic HR group working with limited resourcing.
Employees are the single most influential factor on delivering a better and branded customer experience.
In a recent survey we undertook with CMOs, only 41 percent of companies fostered an internal culture aligned with the external brand promise and only 22 percent felt that employees understood their role in delivering the brand.
At Lippincott, we’re in the unique position of being sister company to Mercer, a leader in the people business. This has provided the unique opportunity to collaborate to cross organization silos.
It’s time to refocus existing expertise within your company to better support your brand champions, the employees. Increasingly, it is the role of marketers to turn inward and partner with HR on these crucial brand issues.
Target your recruitment to those intrinsically motivated by what you do:
Segmentation will identify who shares your values and the common purpose that drives the company forward. Beyond identifying talent, it provides the insight to compete more effectively for consideration through stronger messaging and optimizing media spend. Hold your recruiting materials to the same creative standards that you use with customers.
Also consider applying the segmentation internally. Capital One in the UK found that analytical advocates, those most comfortable with using data and logic, dominated its analyst community, but there also existed intuitive pragmatists who lived by their gut. Recognizing which segment you belong helps you and your manager create a more productive working environment.
Bring your brand’s inspiration to the employee experience:
If you’re immersed within a branded experience it’s so much easier to deliver that to your customers. Deploy internal centers of excellence from your customer experience and operational excellence groups to unblock barriers and seek out new opportunities.
At Lippincott we create employee experience maps that highlight at each step in the employee journey what an ideal branded experience should feel like and act as a blueprint to better enable teams.
Evaluate and reward on-brand behaviors:
We typically find that companies encourage ‘better’ performance through their compensation systems. Jon Iwata, IBM’s CMO, recognized that while IBM’s unique character was at the heart of its success, it had never been codified. He led a global online jam where employees agreed what those traits were and has now embedded them in how employees are hired, rewarded and retained.
Measure, measure, measure:
Employees can be the most ardent skeptics of the brand Kool-Aid. Internal measurement will help you celebrate only real strengths in the employee experience while helping to prioritize which gaps to improve. Measurement also provides the hard metrics that will help engage those that have disdain for the soft and fluffy stuff.
Working through influence, not just control:
Organizations already have the tools and expertise to deliver on these ambitions. What’s required is bravery from within HR to invite participation and bravery from other silos to invest their resources in supporting these efforts.
Our research shows that where employees are inspired and enabled, business results follow. Employees are as much a brand audience as customers and shareholders. Shouldn’t firms start delivering on that?
Article originally published in The Economist Group: Marketing Unbound on January 7, 2014.