A brand gives a unique identity to an organization. The brand can only be established through customer support. Though the primary focus of an organization is customer centricity, the need for effective employee engagement should never be ignored. The performance of frontline employees directly affects the customer experience. An organization succeeds only with a passionate team of employees. It is widely acknowledged that brand loyalty has to begin with employees. Along with brand building, the organization should be able to use its employees for the promotion of the brand. It should also figure out the engaged and disengaged employees. An engaged employee is committed and passionate about his job and can be groomed as a brand advocate. But a disengaged employee is not involved in his job, requires constant supervision and spreads negative energy. The work culture in the organization should be conducive to create more engaged employees, groom them and
move them up the organizational ladder at the same time separating disengaged employees. Interaction of a customer with a disengaged employee may undo all hard works done to promote the brand by creating a bad customer experience.
To achieve the objective, an organization needs to work on appropriate internal communication, correct recruitment and onboarding, employee advocacy program and review of employee participation in employee advocacy program.
Internal communication is the flow of information among members of the organization and all organizational units. The way communication takes place has undergone a complete transformation in our times. People have access to all information through social media Accordingly, organizations have or should design their communication tools. The essence of internal communication is clarity, transparency, and inclusiveness. Employees want to know the goals they need to achieve, strategies to be adopted and the contribution they can make to the organization. In other words, employees want to feel valued. Delay in percolation of information may be avoided by empowering the middle management. The effective internal communication helps understands the workforce better and results in meaningful two-way communication.
Recruitment and Onboarding:
Integrating a new employee in an organization is a crucial step. Every employee is a potential customer. It is desirable that recruitment policy fosters brand loyalty of employees from the very beginning. The practice of brand awareness may begin at the pre-placement stage. The recruiter should be able to communicate what the company stands for, define its brand, the core values and how is the company different from its competitors. While the company tries to find the job fit, the opportunity should be given to prospective employees to ascertain if they feel enthusiastic about the brand and the company.
Employee Advocacy Program:
This is the pillar of building employee brand loyalty. Employee advocacy means the promotion of the brand by the employees. It is a relatively untapped tool but found to be of great value to an organization. It can be through conventional methods but in the digital era, social media is most effective in an employee advocacy program. It is evident that only highly engaged employees can be part of an employee advocacy program. The organization must ensure fair treatment to all employees by providing rewards, learning and development scope and helping them in times of need. The organization should also ensure that employees are conversant in social media practices.
The participation in the advocacy program has to be spontaneous such that employees take ownership in the process. The employer also needs to show enthusiasm and the communication should be two way. Due recognition in the process must be given and employees may be asked about their desired expectation on incentives etc. Goal setting and performance monitoring are also required in the process.
There are established digital employee advocacy platforms to assist organizations to run it smoothly. Some known names are Bambu, DrumUp, Dynamic Signal, and Everyone Social.
Reviewing advocacy program:
It is imperative that the well thought out employee advocacy program is monitored by performance reviews. The following indicators may be useful:
1) Keeping track of the number of employees signing up and posting regularly and observing the changes. Through employee training and proper inputs on social media usage reduction in numbers can be avoided. Employees need to be told that online presence requires effort.
2) Post engagement needs to be reviewed using reports and number of likes, retweets, shares should be analyzed. The organization gets an idea of employees doing well in the exercise and also topics that have generated interest. This helps the organization develop popular contents.
3) Website traffic and bounce rate should be monitored using tools like google analytics. The bounce rate may be an indicator of the direction the employee advocacy program is taking.
4) The system should be put in place to see if social media efforts have led to lead generation and subsequent sale. If such a system is in place, employee accountability and rewards can also be incorporated in the employee advocacy program.
5) One of the most important objectives of the employee advocacy program is to develop a customer base. Social media provides access to a very large audience. It needs to be monitored if the sharing of brand stories have led to larger customer engagements.
In recent times a management tool, Net Promoter Score has evolved which helps in
determining employee brand loyalty.