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How to Get Employees to Care About Your Company post image

Great commercials, strong PR, a brilliant social media strategy all warrant effort when building your company’s reputation. But there’s no better PR than an army of loyal employees living and breathing your brand. You know the type–folks with enthusiasm bursting from their veins–talking up your products and services with their friends at every bar, baptism and bat mitzvah they attend.

“No, I’m telling you this works, I’ve seen it from the inside! This product has changed my life! Let me show you.”

Or  “I’m so sorry you had that experience, it’s not usually like that.”

Yes. Define your image. Yes, yes, advertise it. But don’t overlook the power of your employees to tell your story.

7 Way To Turn Your Employees into Advocates

Your best employees want to be part of the inner circle. If you want them to act like owners, treat them that way. Here’s how.

1. Acknowledge Reality

Don’t blow smoke. They know the truth better than anyone and how it’s been received. Don’t sugarcoat the issues. Share your concerns and get them involved to fix them.

2. Listen to What They Hear

Don’t discount their feedback as “noise” really listen to what they’re hearing from customers. Nothing is more disconcerting that watching employees share relentless feedback in focus groups and having execs finally pay attention when the consultant comes in and says the same thing.

3. Give Them Context

Share the bigger picture and dynamics of the parameters you’re up against. Creativity comes best when the constraints are clear.

4. Treat Them with Deep Respect

“PR or HR or Staff or the VP knows best” never really plays well at the front line. Respect their perspective, and they’ll respect yours.

5. Encourage Them to Speak in Their Own Voice

Once this deeper understanding is established, I’m always amazed at the insights and eloquence of the frontline. Scripting may keep you out of trouble, but I’ve never seen a script create a best-in-class brand.

6. Allow Them to Be the Hero

There’s nothing more frustrating to a frontline employee than when an executive swoops in and does EXACTLY what they would have done but their hands were tied. Execs chalk this up to common sense that apparently they think they have but I’ve met many who question whether anyone they’ve hired to service their customers could possibly be that astute.

Give your employees a few opportunities (at least) to do what you would do in such circumstances. Can you imagine what would happen if you could replicate that level of prudence and critical thinking?

7. Encourage Swagger

This part may seem unnecessary. But I’m telling you, it matters. I remember when I first started working for Bell Atlantic (as a transition from my teaching assistanceship at the University of MD). All I wanted for Christmas was for my husband to get a hold of a Bell Atlantic sweat shirt. Here I was ready to be a spokesperson and to wear it proudly, but I couldn’t figure out how!

When two decades later I led the outsourced call center channel, it became obvious in about 37 seconds that these outsourced employees working for Verizon Wireless were wild about getting a hold of some VZW gear and would be honored to wear it. They felt passionate about being ambassadors of the brand.

When in doubt invest in the tee-shirts.

Effective brands are built from the inside out. Clever brands build the external engagement. Lasting brands build internal and external excitement concurrently.  What steps could you take to build an army of brand advocates?

Your turn. How do you help build your employee’s as brand advocates?
Filed Under:   Communication, Energy & Engagement
 
 
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers, AMA's 50 Leaders to Watch in 2015, & Top Thought Leader in Trust by Trust Across America. She’s the author of 2 books: Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss.
 

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What People Are Saying

Debbie   |   10 August 2015   |   Reply

I love this article and couldn’t agree more. I work for a non-profit education company and we do many of these things. Our competitors refer to our staff and customers often as “cult-like” because of the passion and following we have for the brand. That’s a great compliment in my book!

I would add to this that number 4’s “Treat Them With Deep Respect” is broader than what you have here. All of the above can be in place but if an organization doesn’t live and breathe this, it is difficult to be successful. Showing your employees you care, respect them enough to create a strong working culture, etc. allows all the rest of this list to flourish. When you find that company, grab it and hang on!

Karin Hurt   |   10 August 2015   |   Reply

Debbie, Thanks so much for expanding the conversation. Great to hear your valuable insights.

Steve Borek   |   10 August 2015   |   Reply

My best brand advocates are my clients. I let them do the talking about our partnership. They are my raving fans and I include frequent quotes on my web site.

When I was an employee I’d have a select group of customers willing to take reference calls from prospective customers.

In regards to company brand, create an environment where employees or so happy about working there that they tell the world. If you can accomplish this level of engagement, you’ll have no problem attracting the best talent.

Karin Hurt   |   10 August 2015   |   Reply

Steve, Your raise a very important dynamic in all of this. I agree… you want to be the first company they think of and want to tell all their friends.

LaRae Quy   |   10 August 2015   |   Reply

Great list, Karin!

For me, I’ve always felt that being listened to was very important. That means team leaders must get out and mix with everyone…encourage conversation and interaction. It’s more than the open door policy—it means getting out of the office and mingling with folks to get their take on what is going on.

Karin Hurt   |   10 August 2015   |   Reply

LaRae, I so agree. Real listening goes way beyond the open door it’s deliberate, proactive and sincere.
On a related note http://letsgrowleaders.com/communication-listening/skip-level-meetings/

Terri Klass   |   10 August 2015   |   Reply

Excellent article, Karin! All your points are spot on when it comes to cultivating ambassadors for companies.

When people feel they are valued and part of the entire picture they are more likely to be cheerleaders. I think your point #3- Give them context can be very powerful. I know that when I have a larger picture and deeper understanding of what is happening, I can rally and promote a cause.

Thanks Karin!

Best primavera P6 institute training   |   08 June 2016   |   Reply

Really nice info, Karin Hurt
Thanks

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