How to Build a Brand Internally Through Employee Experience
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Question: Some companies have successfully managed branding and differentiating themselves from their competitors. Is it possible, in the same way, for a company to build its brand internally through employee experience?
Answer:That is a very good question and the answer is simply, yes, it is possible to ‘brand’ employee experience and a lot of organizations have managed to do that amazingly well. Here at Bayt.com for example, our brand values such as striving to be the best and empowering others are communicated well through our website and our online job search tools, and these are in fact also the same values that define the employee experience at Bayt.com offices. Other examples of companies who have got it right include Zappos, Google and Pixar Studios among many others.
Branding of employee experience is just a different way to explain ‘corporate culture’. Some of the benefits of having a well thought out corporate culture are:
1) Credibility – Consumers are very savvy and they can see right through you if you lie. Your corporate culture is one way to communicate your brand message strongly.
2) Employee engagement – How many times have you heard of people leaving a company because they no longer believe in its values? A company’s corporate culture is experienced physically through the ‘vibe’ in its office and is evident in policies regarding reward and promotion. Many times companies that appear in the ‘best places to work’ lists are also known for their superior products, good customer service and profitability. This is not a mere coincidence because it takes high employee engagement and motivation to get there.
3) Attracting talent – In today’s highly competitive market, constant innovation and developing superior products/services is the key to staying ahead. To fuel this innovation you need to attract and get the best minds to work for you. Good compensation alone cannot be the motivating factor, especially for the Gen Y workforce. Your HR department spends a lot of time and effort in attracting, screening and retaining talented people. A strong and effective corporate culture helps you brand your company well and attract the best talent which in turn will help you save on the selection process as you will have a growing pool of prospective employees through referrals.
4) Leadership – A trickle-down effect is noticed between the personal qualities of those who lead successful companies and the corporate cultures of these companies. Leaders set the example by living the elements of the corporate culture: values, behaviors and actions. This sets the tone for the rest of the organization to follow.
Having mentioned a number of benefits, I now recommend the below changes to help you better incorporate and communicate your corporate culture at the workplace:
1) Office setting: Your office layout influences how an employee views your company. Offices with cubicles signify that the company values autonomy, while transparent meeting rooms and an open layout show ‘transparency’ in communication and team-work. Similarly if your company operates in the creative domain keep your office colour scheme fun and vibrant.
2) Reward: Regularly and publicly celebrating success is important. Rewarding provides positive reinforcement and strengthens desirable behaviours among employees.
3) Company handbook: Before a new joiner walks into the office, he/she should be given the company handbook that clearly lists the company policies, mission and vision statements. Communicate your corporate culture in a simple and clear manner so that they know what to expect as soon as they walk into their new office.
4) Blog: Internal blogs are a great way to have your employees connect with each other, especially if your organization has far flung regional offices. This will make sure that the regional offices don’t feel like isolated autonomous units. One great site for connecting and networking internally is Yammer.com.
5) Social media: You need to communicate your values and show your corporate culture in action to everyone outside. Posting pictures of office festivities and celebrating successes every once in a while on your social media pages further communicates your core values, humanizes your brand and helps attract talent.