Building true love for a brand isn’t just about marketing to the customer. The soul of a brand starts with the people who bring it to life – the employees. Brands that enjoy customer love most often enjoy an internal brand love from their employees and it’s their passion and exuberance for the company that comes through in the customer’s experience.
The importance of acknowledging and architecting an employee journey is often overlooked. As a result, brands spend a great deal of time and effort trying to overcome customer experience issues that ultimately stem from a lack of internal brand love. Establishing a Talent Engagement Strategy that wins the hearts and minds of your team is imperative. Here are a few key considerations:
Craft amazing first impressions that ignite passion. It’s important to recognize your talent journey begins well before you’ve hired a new employee. A candidate’s early interactions with your brand – from your career site to your social channels and even their interviews –shape their perception and passion for your brand, or lack thereof. The war for talent begins here, at the very beginning of their journey, and can be lost here without careful attention.
Recruiters, hiring managers and especially leadership, must ask themselves if these initial touch points are reflective of the company’s brand, culture and personality, and whether they are attracting the “right” talent. Worse yet, are these touch points turning stars away?
To start, take a critical look at how you approach your job descriptions, the process of applying for a job and your response to applicants and determine if it’s an exceptional experience or simply accomplishing the task with little to no brand personality. Make these moments great then move down the journey improving along the way.
Identify and create stand-out moments in the talent journey. From recruiting to exit interviews, brand impressions are made with employees at every turn (whether they are architected or not). But tackling the entire talent journey can seem a daunting task. Start by mapping out the major steps of an employee journey then identify the moments in that journey where you believe you have opportunities to truly stand out. If you want innovative, passion and loyal employees then look at your employees’ journey and create moments where you can show your brand’s passion, loyalty and innovation.
And remember to look well beyond HR. Leadership can have the biggest impact on your talent journey so ensure you’re not only driving awareness of that journey but also the importance of leadership and managers to follow through on the talent journey plans.
Appeal to both the emotional and practical. Many companies treat their recruitment and employee touch points as nothing more than transactions and administrative tasks. This lack of attention invariably leads to challenges with recruiting, employee engagement and retention. Inspiring talent requires care and feeding that strikes a balance between taking care to the practical needs (examples: benefits, salaries, bonuses, the performance management process) while also appealing to the emotional needs (such as celebrating successes and life events, tone of company communications, praise and recognition). Brand love requires appealing to both sides. One without the other eventually leads to dissonance and discord.
At the end of the day, if your team isn’t having a great experience, one that is true to your brand, how do you expect your customers to be any different? These impressions and experiences, positive or negative, bleed into customer experiences. But if you pay close attention to your employee journey, you will not only create strong ambassadors for the company that exude brand love in their work but you will also be magnetic to star talent.