From animal wellness issues at supermarkets, #metoo and diversity discussions at the workplace or misleading CO2 neutral initiatives by corporates. Employees, customers and other (socially involved) parties are becoming more assertive when it comes to how organizations approach their business operations and employership. With naming and shaming on (social) media as a possible consequence. And that should be allowed in some cases. But this also makes it increasingly difficult to protect your reputation as an organization…
Or is it possible to positively charge that assertiveness and your employer brand, with pride and respect?
Yes, it is!
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do your employees, customers and stakeholders speak proudly about your organization?
- Is your company associated with unique core values, a pleasant customer experience, an innovative product or social involvement?
Can you give a positive answer to these questions? Then you are already on the right track. These are important factors that contribute to a good external reputation and that ensure that your employees work with pride for the organization. Do you have doubts? Then it is time to gain insight.
We at 2DAYSMOOD and JECKX often give employers advice on how to grow their business in a sustainable, data-driven and people-oriented way. In this blog, Robin van der Meulen (Strategic Happiness Expert, 2DAYSMOOD) and Cynthia Noordoven (Founder, JECKX) share useful insights so that you too can give your employer reputation a positive and sustainable boost! We share tips about:
- Why your employees want to (continue to) work with you;
- What the building blocks of a good employer image are;
- How you can create a sustainable brand (together with employees) that the world respects.
“By connecting employees to your organization in a purpose-driven way, you retain the right people. This way you form a culture that fits your organization and that wil reinforce a positive employer brand in the market.”
Your culture and employees are your brand
Cynthia: “You need a strong brand and a positive employer reputation! Because no matter which growth phase your company is in, attracting or retaining customers and employees is always a top priority. And the source of a successful customer experience and employee experience is in the extent to which your employees feel engaged and committed to your company.
Or, as Simon Sinek says so beautifully: “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”
Your employees are your brand, so they are your chance to strengthen your reputation. Make sure you have the right people on board. And just to complete the circle … To be able to attract and select those talents, an attractive image as an employer is also crucial.
If the talents present themselves, it is important to select not only on education and work experience, but also on talents and soft skills that match your (desired) company culture. For example, does a candidate have the right character traits that can positively strengthen your employer reputation? That is a question you should ask yourself more often when selecting (and assessing) your employees.
There are good examples of organizations that are already taking advantage of this. Think of Rituals, Zoku Hotel and Heineken (the candidate). Lidl also won 365 applicants in 2 months through storytelling. Via social media channels, their own employees simply explained which (personal) motives they had to work at the supermarket.”
Build your employer image with pride
Robin: “The examples above show what the influence can be of employees who are true ambassadors for your company. The keyword here is “pride.” Proud employees speak often and full of praise about their organization, they feel at home in the workplace, are willing to go the extra mile in their work and naturally express their employee engagement towards colleagues and customers.
But how do you increase the organizational pride of your employees? Through our measurement method, and specifically the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), we give organizations in-depth insight into the extent to which their employees are ambassadors. In addition, we investigated which factors contribute to a good company reputation and at the same time can influence the engagement of employees (positive or negative). In this blog we highlight three.”
Go for innovative, high-quality products and services.
An innovative product or service can sell itself through word of mouth and media attention. Consider the Beyond Burger. Also don’t underestimate the value of social innovation. Is your organization managed in a special future-oriented way? Or is the way in which cooperation between employees is organized unique in productivity or positivity?
Whether you have a technological or social innovation, ensure exposure of these initiatives, internally and externally. Use your internal communication channels or events to show off the your ‘in-company treasures’ to colleagues. Or take part in public competitions or ranking such as the MIT Inclusive Innovation challenge, Fortune 100 best companies to work for, or innovation prizes awarded by you (local) government. There are enough creative ways to create organizational pride among your employees!
Enable your employees to make customers happy!
Be creative and prioritize the wishes of your customers in a fun way. After all, the customer is, together with your employee, your most important asset when it comes to reputation. For example, look at how Zappos, Ritz-Carlton or BufferApp do this. They make an impact in their own way with striking customer focus.
The great thing about this strategy is that customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction greatly reinforce each other. You can imagine that it gives a lot of gratification if you as an employee have the opportunity to make customers happy every day. Whether your service is delivered with a smile or with a “WOW” effect, choose a manner that fits perfectly with your brand and therefore with your employees!
Contribute to meaningful, social and sustainable initiatives.
As an organization you can easily support charities or sustainable initiatives through donations. A great gesture. But you can make even more impact (on your reputation) by actively involving your employees. With ‘The big knit’ campaign from Innocent, for example, the company is committed to cheering up lonely elderly people, while at the same time increasing its brand awareness in a meaningful way. But you can also think of volunteering as a teambuilding event, sponsoring your employees who are involved in charities or offer opportunities to people who are at a distance from the labor market.
“The new generation of workers wants to matter, have a goal and contribute to a better world.”
Respect for the world? Respect for your brand.
Cynthia: “Do you want to take a strong position in the job market and in society with a great company image? Do you want to build a future-proof employer brand? Then as an organization, partly due to all social and technological developments, you can no longer ignore the theme of sustainability. Sustainability is a broad concept, but the bottom line is that in a sustainable world, the people, environment and economy are in balance and do not deplete the earth for growth and profit.
The new generation of workers has been familiar with this concept for some time. They want to make a difference, have a purpose and contribute to a better world. By relating your employer brand to this intrinsic motivation you will attract the most engaged talents. This also applies to customers. Companies or individuals prefer to be customers of companies that also (want to) have a positive impact on society.
It is therefore important to stay up-to-date and tap into the developments and innovations that best suit you. Where startups naturally start doing business with a sense of purpose and with impact objectives, you see that corporates are also becoming more active and creative in terms of sustainability. ”
But how do you start with sustainability?
Cynthia: “To distinguish yourself as an organization in the field of sustainability, you can use (one of) the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are goals set by the United Nations to make the world a better place with 2030 as a milestone. They are formulated as follows:
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitary
- Affordable and sustainable energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- Reduce inequality
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Living in the water
- Living on the land
- Peace, justice and strong public services
- Partnership to achieve objectives
At a first glance these goals may seem (too) big and you wonder: “How can I contribute to these global themes as an organization and where can I make a difference?”
It is therefore especially important to make these themes smaller and to start with yourself. What is the purpose of your organization and where are you facing or foreseeing challenges? With the answers in mind you can figure out how they can be linked to one of the SDGs. To find the answers, talk to your employees and customers. What are their individual goals and motives? Investigate which talents, initiatives or resources are present in the organization that can also be more widely disseminated to make an impact, both within and outside the organization.”
“Doing sustainable business is not only idealistic, in fact, it can be very successful. Only success is not the intrinsic motivator, and that makes the difference.”
Best practice: The ideal chocolate bar
Cynthia: “A good example of a socially sustainable company is Tony’s Chocolonely. They work for the overarching goal “100% slave-free chocolate “. They are serious when it comes to the well-being of people, and in particular the cocoa farmers. By setting a good example themselves, they hope to inspire other (larger) chocolate producers and sellers to take their responsibility.
But they also started small at Tony’s by approaching the theme “Serious about people” from within themselves. Everything on the office or shop floor at Tony’s Chocolony is centered around ‘being good for your own people’. In this way they contribute to an important global theme, on their own scale, making it their company DNA. What started as a small initiative has now become a huge success. How many times have you already received or given a Tony’s chocolate bar as a gift?”
Robin: “Finally, consider what you are already doing and try to link this to one of the SDGs. It may well be that you subconsciously already contribute to important themes. Maybe your organization offers the possibility to work from home, for example, which reduces unnecessary traveling and the negative impact on the environment. Or do you always take home leftover food at the end of the day and in this way contribute to reducing food waste? Whatever it may be, try to find your small and simple starting point and build from there towards a company that really makes an impact.”
“Then we can assure you that you are building a brand that the world will respect!”
This blog is based on the content of the inspiration session about “Reputation & Brand”, one of the drivers of the 2DAYSMOOD Employee Happiness Model. Every two months, 2DAYSMOOD and JECKX highlight one of the proven drivers of employee engagement.
Do you also want to know if your employees feel proud of your organization? And are your ambassadors? With the Employee Engagement method of 2DAYSMOOD you gain insight into the current status of their engagement drivers and learn how to positively influence them!
Looking for the way to create a purpose and data-driven organization? We can help with the integrated approach via the Triple-I model. We offer a thorough analysis, custom advice, strategy games, purpose workshops and PDCA consultancy. You will discover what brings a positive contribution to organizational pride and your employer brand.