Embedding Brand into Employee Experience
Employees are brand ambassadors every time they interact with stakeholders. These may be customers, investors and reputation makers, for whom they could be the only point of contact. HR is there to help line managers influence employees’ thinking. Their success depends to a large extent on how staff rate their employee experience.
A product brand represents the individual and collective experience of its customers, while an employer brand is the value people attach to working for an organization. Both benefit from a combination of delivery on promises, and reinforcement of the accruing benefits through marketing. The latter process should begin before employment starts, and continue after the relationship ends; thus creating a key component of the employee experience.
Priming the Pump
Customers generally switch brands because someone has told them the new one is a better value. That someone may be the voice behind a marketing message, or a trusted friend. People apply for jobs for similar reasons. An innovative HR thought leader finds ways to influence thinking in the broader talent pool by pushing the talent acquisition curve. That way before someone receives an invitation or learns of an opening, they have already decided that they would love to work for your organization, if an opportunity arose.
Candidates identify the interview as an opportunity to reach out with ideas to make a difference to the company and the brand. If they are already identifying with both, this puts them in contention for being being an exceptional employee; an enterprise contributor. They are ready to hit the ground running and add value. So far, the employer brand is looking good and they are ready to become your new brand ambassadors.
Setting the Direction
What happens in the next few weeks is critical as the parties enter the relationship wearing rose-tinted spectacles. Most employment relationships begin with a period of infatuation. What happens after the honeymoon is the deciding factor. Innovative HR talent development extends beyond the new employee orientation induction, and stays close to the manager and employee throughout the employee experience. First impressions count. But maintaining the enthusiasm and momentum achieved from the honeymoon period is the essence of employee engagement and creating brand ambassadors.
Confirming the Trend
With these concepts in mind it is critical to increase the tension between process and execution. A dynamic development plan creates opportunities to interact with ambassador peers and mentors, to reinforce the impression that your organization is a great place to work.
Employees retain a positive orientation for as long as, but only for as long as they feel they are benefiting and growing. An innovative HR practice recognizes this as their key contribution. This is why HR has front-line responsibility for employer branding, just as marketing is responsible for cultivating and caring for the health of the product.
Progressive organizations who have invested in their staff, and created opportunities for growth and development accept that it is practical, and perhaps desirable that staff reaches a time to move on. This is the final opportunity to grow staff into fully fledged community based brand ambassadors. Well managed, they leave with the thought that the company is a great place to work and a keenness to pass this information on. For its part management and employees should find ways to stay in touch, for they never know when they may need the talent again.
This post is about infusing / embedding brand into employee experience, so that every person in the company has a positive evaluation of working there. An innovative HR practice helps cultivate this thinking, through interventions that supplement good management practice.
There are two main benefits. The employee grows as they contribute beyond traditional roles, while the company has the bonus of free ambassadors. A positive employer brand enthusiastically delivered, is what makes the difference between good and truly great organizations.