A recent study, fielded by The Brand Union Americas, found that while both emotional and intellectual connections are needed to form a fully engaged employee, incremental steps to increase employees' emotional connection can have a significant impact on multiple levels of the employer-employee relationship, including job satisfaction ratings and employee actions that support or financially benefit the company. The end of that sentence bears re-reading "employee actions that support or financially benefit the company." This was not in reference to greater pay, stringent performance management processes or better working conditions. It was through the creation of an emotional connection between the employees and the brand.
To some this may seem a tenuous link at best or the mad ranting of a new-age liberal at worst.Moreover emotional commitment is hard to define and probably even harder to measure. The Brand Union has developed a proprietary research tool that measures the level of Brand Engagement across an organisation - the Buy-In Benchmark. It also indentifies those unique emotional and intellectual factors that drive engagement and the specific benefits that a company could expect from its fully engaged employees. Our research and experience shows that there are numerous benefits for companies that creates strong emotional ties between employees and the brand. Engaged employees are more likely to:
- Provide great service to customers
- Recommend the company's products to friends and family
- Be committed to CSI initiatives
- Buy shares in their company
Perhaps even more significant is the fact that engaged employees have higher levels of job satisfaction. Satisfied employees are less likely to leave and more likely to remain loyal to their company.
Brand Engagement aligns employee actions to the business strategy. This is because good brand strategy is derived from and supports the business strategy. and is the most effective way to make business strategy actionable for all employees. Translating the business strategy into a brand strategy that is taken to employees through a brand engagement program is an effective way to help employees make the business strategy real in their lives. Often a company sticks up posters of its Vision, Mission and Values somehow expecting them to permeate employees' minds and hearts when they walk by. A well structured and creatively executed Brand Engagement program removes the jargon, simplifies the concepts and tells a story about the brand. As Rudyard Kipling wrote, "If history were taught in the form of stories it would never be forgotten". Stories have the ability to touch peoples' hearts and remain in their minds. We believe that engaging your employees through telling your brand story is the most effective way to capture their hearts and minds. What does that mean in financial terms? A UK Retailer showed that a 1% increase in employee commitment equates to a 9% increase in monthly sales!(2), making Employee Brand Engagement a financially viable program for any company to embark on.
1 Ken Irons, Market Leader, 1998
2 Source: enterprise IG case history for CLF UK, 8 July 2004.