It’s not a secret that engaged employees are the best types of employees. Even fiercely loyal employees, though, need help staying connected to a company brand.
Loyal and engaged employees are an incredible asset for a number of reasons: they are already proponents of the brand, they’re knowledgeable of the company’s products, and they can help extend the company’s reach and reputation. In fact, companies with engaged employees report earning 2.5Xs more revenue than firms with low engagement.
But just as work-at-home employees can feel isolated from the rest of the organization, it’s important to have a strategy for helping employees feel connected to a brand and appreciated for their efforts. Often, engagement efforts for remote employees can be replicated to empower and engage other employees, as well. Here are five tips to do just that:
1. Maintain an active online community
Giving staff a reason to interact with each other and your brand beyond daily work-related topics is a wonderful way to develop a community. Create an online group for each team and offer a Q&A session with guest speakers from within the organization. Ask members to share stories and photos of their favorite products from your company. Just as online platforms can help remote employees avoid feeling isolated, use it to strengthen emotional connections within other parts of the organization.
2. Hold local events
Help employees feel more connected to your organization by hosting events in which they can meet with other departments and socialize. It’s also an opportunity for employees to feel appreciated. The events don't have to be extravagant. Be as creative as you can with it, and tailor the activities according to what reflects your company’s values and resonates with staff.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Sometimes, activities such as participating in additional training or regularly updating the knowledgebase fall to the wayside. Use gamified elements to motivate employees to complete these tasks on a timely basis. Remind them how close they are to receiving status symbols like badges or reaching the top of the leaderboard by completing those tasks.
4. Create authentic content
Encourage employees to broadcast your brand but let them decide how and when to do it. Explain what constitutes a successful example of shared content, then give them the freedom to share authentically. This builds ownership into the process and employees might find a new and better approach. If that happens, call attention to it. If employees choose a poor methodology, don’t penalize them, instead, suggest better options.
5. Look for look-alike brand advocates
Recognize your most enthusiastic employees and encourage their behavior. Check to see who is participating in your company’s referral program, for example, and monitor social channels to see who is taking the time to share positive brand information. Also, use social listening and data analytics tools to identify topics that resonate with employees to seed ideas for content marketing and other resources.
Employee engagement isn’t just about encouraging employees to tweet about your brand. It takes careful planning and a data-driven strategy to extend your brand’s reach and reap the full benefits of brand advocacy. With the right planning and engagement, employee advocacy can be a powerful way of raising brand awareness as well as driving retention and productivity.