As a business owner, you probably think of customers as the most valuable resource for your company. This is a reasonable assumption, because without customers, it would be impossible to ever generate a profit and sustain your business. You should not, however, overlook the importance of your staff as a resource for your company. Employees are not simply cogs in a machine. They are the ones who will likely make personal connections with your customers, and their opinions of your company can go a long way for your company’s reputation. To boost the performance of your business and encourage employees to stick around longer, you should focus on the idea of developing employees as brand ambassadors.
A brand ambassador is an employee who doesn’t just represent a company by showing up to work and doing a good job. Brand ambassadors are the people who love the company they work for, and they bring a more positive impression of the company to every aspect of their work. So, how do you get employees this excited about being a part of your business? You might think that a quick solution is to simply raise salaries, but this doesn’t actually boost engagement among employees. Though paying your staff more money may not hurt, the real heart of brand ambassadorship comes from the aspects of your company that are unique—those features that other jobs just might not offer.
Bring Your Marketing Outside Your Marketing Department
If your marketing approach is limited to your marketing department, you are not considering how customers actually interact with your business. Think of it this way: Your marketing department may be how people find your business, but the rest of your staff shares face-to-face moments with your customers that leave a lasting impression. Therefore, you’ll want to give your employees incentives to provide the best possible representation of your business. Companies that make this investment often perform better. In fact, one Gallup study reported that “companies with high employee engagement levels have 3.9 times the earnings per share when compared to those in the same industry with lower engagement levels.”
Allow Employees to Connect with Your Brand
When you want to nurture brand ambassadors, you will need to be intimately familiar with what your brand is. You should have an established mission statement and clear goals that are reflected throughout your business practices, and these should be made clear to each member of the team when they are hired and throughout their careers. When you have identified the unique qualities that make your brand stand out, you can increase employee engagement through the following strategies:
- Create Strong Training Materials – How is your training process for employees structured? Are they expected to read a binder of materials and answer multiple choice questions? Do they attend classes? Do they complete computer-based training modules? No matter the specific layout of training materials, it’s important to make training an engaging process that leaves a lasting impression. This is especially true of materials that cover the background of your business, mission statement, and other foundational ideas. You also shouldn’t hesitate to create training materials for more seasoned employees to reinforce the philosophies of your brand.
- Allow Employees to Use Your Company’s Products – If you operate a restaurant or retail establishment, customers will look to your staff to guide their purchase decisions. They can do a much better job of this if they’ve been able to taste new dishes, try out new products, or take home samples. Even if you are not directly selling consumer goods, it is important to be sure that your team understands the customer experience your business provides, so they can better inform customers throughout the process.
- Take Employee Ideas into Serious Consideration – When people feel like their ideas are heard, they are more likely to contribute in collaborative brainstorming sessions that may help grow your business. In addition, they will be proud to participate in new systems that they’ve helped implement, because they will have a strong connection to these innovative ideas.
Improve Resources Available to Employees
Helping employees feel like they are part of the growth and development of your business is an important step toward employee engagement and brand ambassadorship. You can, however, go a step further by encouraging the personal growth of your staff with an influx of resources available to your employees. Providing time and funding to complete professional development courses, for example, can show that you care about the personal career goals your employees have, and this makes it clear that future opportunities will be available through your company. Additionally, you might increase opportunities for employees to network by attending industry events or hosting gatherings within your business.
By partnering with Pennington Creative to create your internal training materials and contribute to your content marketing, you can boost employee engagement and create a stronger future for your company. You can explore more of our services on our website, or take a look at our Employee Engagement eGuide for more tips on keeping employees loyal and dedicated to your business.