Fusing Branding and Employee Engagement

Branding is changing

Leaders are beginning to see the connection between employee engagement and their brand.

Human resource and marketing strategy have traditionally been kept separate, and few organizational leaders even think to consider how they may be related. But increasingly, the two are beginning to merge. In fact, with an increasingly competitive multi-national marketplace and tight labor market, branding strategy that looks inward, towards employees, is fast becoming standard practice.

This is why, whenever you’re considering your brand’s overall strategy, you need to consider how you’ll promote employee engagement centered around organizational values.  While it may seem challenging, emerging scalable tech and advances in positive psychology provide actionable elements to implement in your branding strategy.

Thinking about the brand from the inside

Branding is so much more than a logo and an ad campaign. It’s a whole network of associations, impressions, and beliefs about your organization. This means that every employee-customer interaction, every little anecdote, adds to (or detracts from) your brand. This is why you not only need to sell your brand to the consumer, but to the employee as well.

Each of your employees should feel that they have a stake in the values of your organization and actively seek to promote them. This simply can’t be done by mandate, but rather comes from the employees freely. Because, when they’re engaged in their role in the organization they will spread their enthusiasm.

Research has continually shown the benefits employee engagement offers for organizations’ brand. While this is most pronounced in service industries, where a high number of employees are customer facing, it is true in any organization.  

You may think this is great, but that it’s not a practical approach to brand management. This isn’t the case. By targeting the daily habits of your organization with strategic actions you can maximize engagement and help your brand thrive from the inside out.

Leveraging organizational values for employee engagement

At the core of an organization’s brand is a set of values. And, all organizational values relate to identifiable actions that members of the organization can readily engage with.

The values an organization practices are taken from the overarching purpose it holds. They provide actionable guides for achieving your organization’s purpose. When defining these values they should be easily actionable for every member of the organization from the highest executive to the most junior new hire. The leaders especially should visibly demonstrate and live these values. People want values to live by, but if they see their leaders dropping off they will soon follow.

The more enthusiastically employees are encouraged to live the values the more engaged they will become. To integrate these values into the fabric of the organization you need to focus your strategy on everyday actions and behaviors: habits.

Making values habit

There’s no getting around it, habits form through repeated action – day in and day out. Forming habits requires commitment, especially at the organizational level, but it’s essential – up to 40% of our actions are automatic (i.e. habits). Imagine what your organization could achieve if 40% more of your team’s behaviors were more aligned.

So, how do you take something as abstract as a value and turn in into a habit?

Values are made habit by targeting key behaviors that you believe represents your values. When you take your rounds examining front lines operations, ask yourself, “which actions, if practiced more, would make us more aligned with our values?”

Enacting values then means scaling the specific actions that represent them. Fortunately, new technology is emerging that allows organizations to do just that.

ProHabits: scaling behaviors and reinforcing your brand

Leading the way with habits scaling software is ProHabits: delivering daily values aligned behaviors by email. With ProHabits, users receive an email in the morning. The email prompts users to engage in values aligned microactions (simple actions taking only a few minutes) that organizations are able to custom tailor.

User only need to click “I commit” to begin.

Once they commit they receive a second email in the evening asking if they did it. When they confirm they can see where they rank in the organization. The public element reinforces commitment and allows leaders to see who their culture captains are.

How is your organization leveraging engagement to build the brand?