This article was first published by MOCA on Medium
Many of us have heard the omnipresent cliche, “People are your greatest asset” in flourishing organisations today. Is this sentiment actually reflected in our corporate cultures and the way our leaders lead? Very few companies firmly reiterate it although most companies have this scripted as part of their company values.
For employees to feel valued as the assets of the company, organisations must attempt to follow the 3 Es, especially if they accept that the hiring process has been done correctly :
- Empower and Enable employees to do what they have been hired to do by adding value to employees’ results.
- Embrace diversity & inclusion as part of the Brand DNA
Firstly, as leaders, if we have hired correctly, we should devote our time on how to inspire employees, enhance their skills, involve them and keep them motivated and happy instead of telling them what to do.
Related: Micromanagement vs Empowerment: Do You Know Your Role?
Your employees should be partners in crime in achieving goals, meeting deadlines, preserving quality, and comforting customers. They are the face of the organisation, and the first impression while interacting with guests or customers. It is as such, crucial to invest time and energies to bring out the best in your employees and formulate strategies that keep your employees constantly sharing your products and services with pride to others. An empowered workforce proves to be a more productive one.
I would say, take the approach of setting goals versus defining the “how-to” and see the results and magic happen.
We should provide goals and incentives to motivate and recognize employees and enable them with power to act freely within predefined limits, tools, resources and effective processes.
It's always encouraging to take the time to debrief and share with your employees. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you learn from this experience as a leader.
When did you last check the pulse of your organisation? Deploying pulse surveys across the workforce will arm leaders with the information needed to make smarter decisions and reduce or eliminate any patterns of discrimination or biases within the departments or the organisation as a whole.
With these steps, employees will feel more enabled as they show up to work every day — whether in person or online — feeling safe, connected, and heard.
Organisations these days talk much about embracing Diversity & Inclusion as part of their Brand DNA in order to be successful. This is only the tip of the iceberg and the journey has just begun.
Diversity & Inclusion should be about extending initiatives beyond the hiring process and providing equal opportunity and treatment throughout every touch-point of the employees’ experience and all processes related to human capital.
Related: Inclusion and Diversity Starts with Leaders
Some of these methodologies can include signalling instances of stereotyping as they occur; to assist people to become more aware as they start indulging in conscious bias at the workplace.
Cultural humbleness is another way leaders and employees can manage bias and foster more inclusive environments. This concept involves remaining genuinely curious and humble about cultural differences at all times.
Another method could also be people diagnostics which can help leaders pinpoint any gaps that may exist within their team allowing them to assess patterns between departments and dig deep into the root cause of underlying issues. Such insights can help identify trends that may exist with certain groups of employees in the organisation.
Leaders can use festivities as an opportunity to be respectful of cultures and sensitively schedule meetings and understand that employees have different needs that may require flexibility. True workplace flexibility should provide every employee with the avenue of working fairly and equitably, whether they’re on-site, in the office or working from home or in a hybrid working arrangement. Here — trust is key.
Now that the foundation has been built for employees to resonate with your brand and the culture of the company; how do you leverage on the fact that your employees are your most powerful storytellers?
Employees can make or break your brand. Have you heard of the term Employee Lobbyist? This is a fine way to leverage on, human to human connect in ways brands, social media and ads just break to reach. It is only natural for people to trust other like-minded people or people familiar with a brand more than just trusting the brand uninformed based on an ad until they have tried or experienced it for themselves. This is natural and nothing to be alarmed about. Wondering why? It’s because people are more undoubted and indubitable than a brand could ever be.
That’s how person-to-person influence works, that’s how thought leadership works, and it’s why an Employee Lobbyist can be quite powerful. Almost every person in your organisation can provide this value, and it’s why organisations should consider deploying and incorporating the concept of Employee Lobbyists into their marketing strategies. Your employees don’t need to be social media publicists with an enormous number of followers. The cumulative reach of your employees can make that happen by sharing brand messages in their most novel form. This is way more compelling than what goes on social media. Word-of-mouth is powerful, trusted, and cheap; so why not make the most of it with a carefully curated plan for your organisation? Here are two immediate ways to crack that.
Cultivate a Bond through Employee Engagement
The simplest way to achieve this is to ensure that your employees are motivated and happy at work. This naturally sends out a big message about your brand. Gallup, a world leader in meaningful data about people and business mention that companies with the highest rates of employee engagement are four times more likely to succeed than the companies at the opposite end of the compass. Data shows us that engaged employees help companies receive higher customer approval ratings, reduce product defects and loss of product, and increase safety, resulting in fewer incidents.
Related: Five Essential Drivers of Employee Engagement
Employees must be listened to, they are the people who are the first point of contact with your customers and have their ears to the ground. Listen to them; for an idea is a new idea with potential until it is analyzed and reviewed in the context of the organisation before it is defined as a being useful or not useful suggestion at a point in time. An idea may not be useful now but can always be relevant and used later.
Related: How Communication Drives Digital Employee Engagement
Employees must be coached and given sufficient training on product knowledge and supplied with the right tools to do their work at best. Right from the uniform or the name badge and an ornament given to an employee is part of how engaged they can be as this helps them carry themselves with a sense of pride about their organisation needless to say it includes the way they are treated.
Employees must be given enough rest for their mental health so that they are performing at optimum. Work and play and a good combination of this will make your employee speak highly about your organisation culture; naturally putting your brand and your product and services at the forefront. Sometimes it's not about your product and services but your employees can attract the right workforce and showcase you as the employer of choice. This will eventually attract the right vibe of employees to the organisation.
If you expect your employees to give their best to your customers, don’t you think it is only reasonable for you, the organisation to give them your best?
Set up an Employee Lobbyist Club
In recent times it is obvious with digital evolution that people are more attracted to products and services and respond to those being displayed within a realistic context. Forming an Employee Lobbyist Club where people can engage within your organisation to positively impact the way external or internal audiences view, interact, or form opinions about your brand, product, or services might be a wise way forward. Regardless of the organisation size, demographics or level, an Employee Lobbyist can impact the behaviour of audiences. It is very important that these Employee Lobbyists are handpicked and shaped to convey the right message to the said audience.
Related: Employees As Social Media Influencers
One mode to do this would be to introduce an Employee Endorsement Program for your Employee Lobbyists to share their thoughts on social media channels by promoting freedom of speech in a guided manner. This is a great way to share your brand’s message in a more trustworthy and personable way. This shows the faces behind your brand, making your brand seem more personable, authentic, and enhancing its ability to garner an emotional connection with the audience.
At this juncture, I wish to quote Jack Welch, former CEO and chairman of General Electric who said “There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organisation’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow.
Thus, it goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long term without energized employees who believe in the vision and mission of the organisation and thoroughly understand how to achieve it.”
With this, I do hope that it is more evident than before that to win in the marketplace, you first need to win in the workplace with your employees so that they carry the tales to the right people and the right time to create positive visibility for your organisation.
Totally concur with the author here! Let your employees be the ambassadors of your organisation. How? Invest in a strong employee engagement app - where your employees can fully immerse themselves in the organisation's culture and values. Watch this video on Happily (or Budaya for those from Indonesia) and see what it can do for your employees and organisation.