When it comes to the front line, where the person-to-person interaction is so critical, employees are the ambassadors of the brand.
“It is one thing at the office to have employees say, ‘I love this company,’ but what are they saying to their friends and family at the cocktail party,” says Steve Brubaker, Chief of Staff at InfoCision Management Corp. “A company would like it to be positive and needs to find out how to help influence that.”
Smart Business spoke with Brubaker about how a company culture can help produce brand ambassadors.
What is the underlying concept of the brand ambassador principle?
A company creates a brand-ambassador feeling in its employees so when they meet people outside the business, they share a positive message about their workplace with friends, family and others.
When a company culture promotes an attitude among employees that it wants to give them the best career experience available, that support will help ensure the success of brand ambassadors.
Where is the first place to focus efforts to develop brand ambassadors?
Companies should focus on efforts to develop relationships between the front-line team and the immediate supervisors. That is the most important connection they both have to the company. The immediate supervisor has the strongest connection to the team and is the best influencer of employee engagement.
Make sure the supervisor has a good sense of the corporate vision and what management is trying to accomplish. If the front-line employees feel comfortable and are connected, it is going to be a lot easier for them to share that same vision.
How do companies know if employees are becoming connected?
One practice is to conduct regular employee engagement surveys. It is a good way to get an overall view of employee perspectives.
By using a service such as SurveyMonkey, an anonymous online survey may be conducted. A company can ask employees how it feels about the work they do, and employees can speak anonymously to how they feel the supervisors and the company leadership treat them. Twenty questions is a manageable size to gather feedback on communication, career development and training, compensation and benefits. Leaving space for open-ended comments may provide a wealth of insight.
Once the employees have completed the survey, take the information and use it in a positive way.
Compare feedback year-to-year and department-to-department to determine trends. Look for any improvements that have been made in particular areas or for glaring issues that need improvement.
Determine the top five categories to improve and nominate several leaders across the company to assemble focus group teams from the front line on up to develop proposed solutions to be presented to executives. Engaging employees at different levels throughout the organization in the improvement process demonstrates that the company values the employees’ expertise. Not only does management benefit from gaining this insight, the organization as a whole benefits. Employees are more likely to stay engaged and contribute their best work when they know leadership is listening and their opinions are heard.
What are other methods to motivate?
Employees like to connect with the company at different levels, so various communication tools should be used. Regular updates, newsletters, forums and focus groups are great opportunities.
Special events can play an important role and serve to connect employees at a high level to the organization. Employee award programs, events to recognize performance, open forums, summer picnics, Christmas parties and other out-of-the-routine experiences such as friendly sporting competitions or special food days are all beneficial. Employees get to meet their colleagues and talk about family and personal matters. They will start to have a relationship outside of the office.
Encourage appropriate social media use among employees. They may share the great work they do with their social networks and become true brand ambassadors.
Insights Teleservices is brought to you by InfoCision Management Corp.