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Employee engagement is the key to both, sustaining a corporate reputation as well as building and maintaining equity and salience of your brand. In fact, it is more critical than ever before in the wake of rampant unemployment, mental trauma, and these unprecedentedly uncertain times, unleashed by the COVID 19 pandemic.
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There is no iota of doubt about the fact that your employees are one of the primary stakeholders of your company. They are truly what enables a brand to do what it does. As such, the more engaged and happy the employees are, the more your organization is geared to grow sustainably.
However, it must not be forgotten that employee engagement is actually a very abstract concept. It is not something tangible. It is the emotional attachment and connect that an employee feels towards the organization he/she works for. What exactly makes one feel connected to an organization and motivates them to deliver their best varies from person to person, but the underlying pursuit remains the same.
Today’s employees are looking more than just a good pay package at the end of the month. They are looking for a place that they can call a united community and therefore, the brand that engages its employees meaningfully can reap the benefits of the employees becoming their most valuable brand ambassadors.
Brands are also realizing this fact that today, consumers are drawn more by what a brand stands for and what value they add as a socially conscious corporate citizen, rather than merely selling a product. While consumer engagement and call to action are important, employee engagement still lies at the bottom of the pyramid. Not only an engaged employee is more likely to be your brand’s biggest advocates, but they are also more likely to refer their qualified friends and connections to your organization. Recognizing and rewarding your staff’s hard work and motivating and incentivizing them adequately will not only work towards retaining your best resources, but also work towards reinforcing your brand’s overall reputation. If customers are your 'king', your employees surely are your ‘queens’.
Today’s employees are spending the majority of their waking hours at the workplace. Even now, they are doing so, albeit virtually. More than the pay-check, over 90% of employees tend to love a work culture and the overall working environment more, if they get opportunities to give back to the company. Nearly 70% of the world’s best employers have unambiguous employer branding strategies, with many of these emphasizing on how to build better brand advocates. Genuineness is the secret ingredient in any effective employer brand, and there is no better way to augment authentic engagement with your employer brand than to increase brand advocacy among your workforce. It is in fact, interesting to note that, today’s generation doesn’t even mind taking a pay-cut if that comes with working for a company they share common values with, companies that are socially responsible.
Companies can’t avoid paying heed to this trend. A report by Gallup suggested that disengagement at the workplace costs the US economy $450 billion to $550 billion annually. While recruitment costs increase, productivity suffers.
The good news is that there are ample ways to foster employee engagement. Brands need to take note of the fact that every human being desires to have a sense of belonging, a community to call their own, to rely on, to be with. Therefore, an inclusive and inspiring culture can go a long way in ensuring employee loyalty and appreciation.
The fact remains that no one knows a company better than the people who work for it, day in and day out. Just that you want to instill a sense of pride amongst the employees working for your brand, it is important to incorporate pride for your team into your brand strategy. As Michael Lastoria, founder of a foreign pizza brand beautifully puts it- Employees are the heart and soul of the brand. Treat them that way and you can see what happens.
Another sure-fire way to build engagement is to provide opportunities that empower your employees. Providing your employees opportunities to interact beyond just a business-focused brand, helps them to get infused with a sense of comradery and they feel more connected to each other in the process. Having friends at work, rather than mere colleagues, makes people seven times more engaged in their workplace. When people are able to be themselves, they put their best foot forward and the right attitude comes through.
Going forward, a truly well-entrenched people-first culture, work-life balance, harmony, human and compassionate HR best-practices, diversity and inclusion at the workplace, women safety and empowerment, opportunities for career growth, workplace wellness, millennials and Ge Z friendly employee benefits, will be some of the key trends on the employee engagement front.
Various industry reports suggest that a transparent working culture, knowledge sharing, consistent learning, intrapreneurship, and perceived communication satisfaction are positively associated with employee engagement. Resonant leadership method prove detrimental to employee engagement.