The primary goal of marketers is to drive engagement, brand awareness and brand loyalty amongst consumers. But, you may want to consider that one of the secrets to making that happen is to drive engagement within the company.
I’ve been thinking and writing a good bit lately about forming and fostering your company culture. Companies work very diligently and deliberately to promote their organizations externally, but sometimes they can lose sight of the fact that many of the drivers to results and success exist on the inside. Because it’s your employees who ultimately make your business successful, it’s essential to make sure they are happy and healthy, thereby fostering a productive work environment and positive employee morale. Inescapably now more than ever, most employees own and are cultivating their own personal presence on the social networks. This essentially makes every one of them a brand spokesperson.
According to a Gallup study, a majority of employees said that when they don’t feel engaged in the workplace, it impacts their physical health and psychological wellbeing. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself with a self-feeding loop in which a disengaged environment leads to unhappy, potentially sick employees…and unhappy, potentially sick employees contributing to a disengaged, unproductive environment.
So in addition to driving customers to engage with your brand via social marketing efforts, it’s also vital to concurrently drive engagement within your own organization, ensuring the health and happiness of employees.
It’s no surprise that workplace wellness programs are gaining momentum, as illustrated in a Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness. Wellness programs are a “key strategy to reduce the cost of providing healthcare, improve worker productivity and reduce absenteeism.” Additionally, the study reinforces that the “fastest-growing components of wellness programs are technology-driven tools,” particularly the utilization of mobile technology.
What’s interesting is how big a role social can play here. I believe that social marketing helps brands make personal connections and deepen relationships with their customers. So it only makes sense that the same social principles and strategies can help a business grow more connected with its employees, driving forward a more collaborative culture. Social is proliferating across brands’ digital marketing efforts, but many social tools are becoming commonplace within the office as well. According to the Chartered Institute for IT, “using social networking sites, such as Facebook, makes a direct impact on our happiness.”
Happiness is contagious, and social is a device that can spread that happiness around the office faster than the common cold. Research shows that “happiness spreads among people up to three degrees removed from one another,” in a social network. So, if an employee is happy, a colleague stands a better chance of adopting that positive state as well.
Services like Yammer, Chatter and Jive are pushing forward new ways to give employees ways to engage, get direct feedback, and feel like a part of their work community. They reduce barriers, creating more channels of communication and giving employees access to everyone within the organization – from any device. Its no wonder that services like Yammer, with over 4 million corporate users as of January 2012, continue to grow.
Additionally, these tools enable employees to acknowledge the accomplishments of their teams and co-workers, and broadcast shout-outs, kudos and other expressions of praise to the entire organization. A recent article in Mashable outlines why this kind of employee recognition is great for business.
Keas, an online workplace wellness solution that motivates individuals to take charge of their health through social networking and gaming mechanics, recently published an eBook, Wellness as a Business Strategy. The book notes that, “in a world of rapidly increasing health costs and rapidly decreasing employee engagement, a company’s sustainable competitive advantage (or lack thereof) will be a result of their ability to positively impact the health and happiness of its employees.”
Instituting an employee wellness program may at first seem daunting. But think of it this way – if popular social game CityVille grew to 100 million users in just 43 days, think how easy it would be to encourage employee to adopt a wellness program that incorporates social and gaming components into an engaging core curriculum.
Understanding the connection between employee health and productivity is vital to the success of any organization. Happiness is contagious, and happy workers equate to a productive and healthy organization. Take advantage of the social tools within your organization and you are highly likely to see results, perhaps even seeing your each and every employee developing into a happy, healthy, engaged, knowledgeable brand evangelist.