Insights: The future of employee engagement
Ahead of the Transform Conference Europe, taking place in London on 3 July, Brand On has examined the ways in which brands can ensure their employees are engaged, motivated and aligned with the brand
Having absorbed and enthusiastic employees is the ultimate goal for all organisations, however Gallup recently reported that in 2018 only 8% of the workforce is truly engaged. This is a worrying trend, especially when KPMG commented, “The real value of engaged employees” is in their own advocacy of the brand, and only engaged employees would be brand cheerleaders. There are clearly obstacles stopping people feeling engaged with the brand to which they are affiliated.
Traditionally marketing would cascade brand voice through the organisation with ad hoc campaigns. But today one-off campaigns are not enough and to gain ongoing engagement continued enthusiasm is needed. Companies need to think about driving the brand voice through the business to create a cohesive and inspiring message which remains long after the brand strategists have left the building. But how do we do this? Whose role is it? And when?
It’s essential for employees to have a clear and authentic view of the company and what it means to them. In today’s environment, an organisation’s culture and people’s sense of belonging to that culture is more important than ever. One key element for creating employee engagement is a focus on purpose. This is something that employees are starting to strive for and contemplate more; a working purpose that connects them to something larger. Communicating brand heritage, values and future vision in physically visible ways, across the workplace helps inspire employees, creating an emotive environment and encouraging real brand integrity. The old adage ‘if you write it down it will happen’ is a truism in this context in the fact that organisations who consistently communicate their values, behaviours and purpose grow faster, retaining and attracting talent.
The obvious answer to the question of when is: after a rebrand, refresh or merger/acquisition activity. But, it could be part of a new workplace project or given the scary engagement stats from Gallup, it should be part of the ongoing business strategy across the workplace. The answer to when you need to appreciate the importance of employee engagement is now, as addressing this will impact the level of success and achievements your organisation has in the future.
This needs to be lead from marketing and the brand team, with a strong narrative from the top down on the purpose and objectives of an organisation. With direction from branding and marcoms and commitment from the senior management this can ensure longevity and belief within the organisation. Also essential is the support from all aspects of the facilities team to implement and HR to encourage change and work with employees to help them feel part of the initiative. This isn’t just a one person role, employee engagement needs a completely collaborative approach. Stakeholders within companies will need to find creative ways to boost brand engagement without enforcing a brand dictatorship; a place where employees feel a sense of worth, purpose, pride, and inspiration, ultimately becoming brand ambassadors.
A business that moves forward, attempts to differentiate their own brand from the competition, has a focus on their employees and their employees purpose, will become the market leaders of the future.
Philippa Brown is brand director at Brand On