Let Your Employees Be Your Brand Advocates
Let’s admit this, more often than not we overlook the powers that our employees have in taking our Small Business to greater heights.
We are so focused on the external – what our competitors are doing, what our customers want, where is the next sale coming from – that we forget about the very people who form the foundations of your company – your employees.
Our traditional marketing plans focus on external stakeholders. But, in this day and age, attracting great talent takes more than just a good paycheck. You want retention of good employees. Because, honestly recruiting is expensive and adds to cost and time spent.
Wouldn’t you rather spend half that time in ensuring that your employees are happy?
While Small Businesses may not have the infrastructure and luxury at their disposal as Google or other tech giants, here are some of the things that you can do to convert your employees into brand advocates.
1. Internal Communication
It’s easy to sit on top of the food chain, order around, be the boss and expect miracles to happen. But, it takes real inspiring leadership and understanding to ensure that your organisation runs like a well-oiled machine. To make that happen, you need to communicate at all levels.
More often than not, your sales team would have closed a great deal. Who else gets to know about it? Does the Account Management team know the clients they have to manage? Does the HR know what’s happening? Does finance understand the challenges of the operations?
More often than not, each of these departments evaluates situations from the perspective of their department and experience. Hence, as leaders it becomes important that we maintain a two-way communication channel that not only informs but involves everyone in the goals and achievements of the organisation.
With millennials forming a larger chunk of the workforce, acknowledgement and communication of larger purpose has become vital to inspire and keep the workforce motivated.
Your internal communication channels can be a mix of weekly newsletters – covering different departments, people profiles etc., or it can be an email from you to everyone where you share your vision and purpose. You can also choose to make it casual and fun with team lunches and activities.
No matter how you choose to go about establishing an internal communication channel or policy, it will enable employees to work with a purpose and together as a team.
2. Openness to ideas
In this day and age, we could all do better with a bit of learning from other people. Creating a work environment that is open to new ideas is easier said than done. You need to create spaces or ways in which people can share their ideas.
Just ask people how they can make their jobs easier and efficient will give you enough ideas on new processes right from people performing those tasks. Openness also gives more ownership in work.
Here’s an interesting urban legend around Tobasco sauces when they launched. People loved the flavour, it was all great but the product was still not selling enough. The marketing team was clueless as to what the reasons were and they were considering giving up on it altogether.
A brainstorming meeting was in progress, when the secretary walked in and looked at the bottle. She made a comment on her way out – “I would buy the sauce if the bottle had a smaller area to dispense. I use this (she pointed to the bottle with a bigger opening) and I always end up having too much sauce.” T
here it was. A simple insight that paved way for a new bottle design which in turn alleviated sales!
Good ideas can come from anyone within the organisation, you just need to create a place which is open to them.
Getting people with different personalities and skill-sets to work together is a huge challenge. Getting two of your most amazing talents to work together as a team can get difficult if their personalities clash. Reasons enough why there needs to be more opportunities away from the task and role based work environment for them to get to know each other as people.
Get a foosball table at work, give a pass for a lazer-tag or arcade game post work – let there be games and play because nothing teaches us about working as a team than sports and games. I know of foosball games that have bonded finance and marketing pros to work better together to each achieve their respective goals.
4. Perks and benefits
It’s not always about the pay. Having perks and benefits for high performing individuals and even teams can really help the organisation in the long run.
Now, who wouldn’t like free dinner vouchers to a fine dining place on their birthdays or anniversaries? Or a day off at the spa for a new mom sponsored by the company? Small benefits, huge rewards because it shows you care.
5. Flexibility and empathy
Employees are people. It’s nice to remember that. Flexible timings and being understanding about certain things goes a long way in building loyalty. Having policies that allow for a flexible working hours or allow remote working for 1 day in a week are all amazing. With today’s technology it is possible as well.
Wouldn’t it be better for a new mom to work from home and give her 100% than come to office and be constantly anxious about her baby at home? Have rules which enable people to be more efficient than restrict them.
Now, all of the above and more good Human Resource practices really help you have employees who are happy and invested in your goals. Which means, they will say good things about the firm and talk about the values and goals of the organisation with pride.
With social media coming into the picture, it also means that it will result in a lot of positive PR and goodwill about working in such a positive and constructive environment. It’s clearly a win-win situation and makes good business sense.
Afterall, Christmas is Christmas because of Santa Claus. And Santa Claus would be nothing without his loyal army of dedicated and happy elves.
So, go ahead – give some love to your employees. Let them be your brand advocates. Build that positive work space and watch how it impacts your business positively.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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