Awhile back, I attended a Bay Area Executives meetup panel moderated by Ray Wang.
The topic was influence (interesting side note – I was thinking this but the panel was about this).
One thing that stuck with me, was a comment about how employees are one of the biggest influencers for a company.
In the HR space, I often hear corporate brand discussed as it relates to recruiting. Referral programs are often used to increase candidate fit (typically the fit is improved both for the job skills as well as the culture).
More advanced companies think about employees and brand far outside the recruiting space. They realize that, their employees also impact the goodwill of their brand in the marketplace.
So it got me wondering about the idea of HR’s role as keeper of the brand.
Given the impact of social media, the reach of a single employee has grown dramatically. What are companies doing to harness this trend, to benefit their brands?
What are the best practices you have seen in this area? How has HR played a role in increasing the visibility and reputation of the corporate brand. What have you seen work*?
How are great HR departments helping to make sure every employee can articulate the value proposition of the company to their network? Who is making this shift work for them, and who is missing an opportunity?
How big is the opportunity?
* I’m looking for examples other than Zappos
2 thoughts on “How do your employees represent your company brand?”
I have had the pleasure of working with some of the biggest as well as some of the smallest companies in the high-tech industry. Through out, the single biggest contribution to employee representation was pride. When an employee is proud of their organization and what they do, the positive representation comes natural. The question becomes how do you build that organizational pride?
I believe you have to set goals of performance that are noticeably higher than the competition and then put programs in place to help employees achieve those goals. Hold quarterly meetings to share the successes and use these events to celebrate those successes. (I will never forget the quarterly and annual meetings at Cisco Systems in the early days.)It is always exciting to be part of a winning environment.
I think it is helpful to have advisory groups that contribute to the employee quality of life within the organization. It not only creates a sense of partnership, but also contributes to the pride of ownership when their ideas are adopted for implementation.
If there is pride in the organization then brand support from employees is easier. In the larger companies I worked with there were company stores that offered vast assortments of branded items that we not only purchased for ourselves, but also purchased to give to our customers. Some job functions, i.e. technical instructors, customer services personnel, retail staff, are great places to promote the brand on apparel.
To make all this happen requires a partnership between HR, Marketing, and Executive Management to create and support an environment where organizational pride is created and valued.
And how many great executives encourage employees to be part of company branding by, say, starting a community blog? 🙂