Often overlooked is the role of employees in marketing. That’s a shame because your employees, their quality, their empathy, their drive, and their intelligence make the difference between success and failure in business, especially in service businesses. Gone are the days when it was acceptable to consider employees as expendable, interchangeable elements necessary for lending hands needed to run your business.
But, hiring the best employees isn’t easy, even in today’s job market where so many are unemployed. In most developed nations, prospective employees recognize their job skills and seek an employer who values those skills. Unemployment benefits allow them to survive until they find the right option. Hence, when you need to recruit the best talent, you need to stand out from the crowd also hiring, especially in high-demand fields like development, security, and sales. But, how do you present your business in its best light? The solution involves creating a strong employer brand.
The role of employees in marketing success
According to Forbes, employees are even more important than customers for business success. That’s because you, as the owner or manager, can’t perform all the tasks necessary to keep your business running and customers happy. Forbes goes on to say:
They have to know why they’re working so hard. That’s where your culture comes in. If you keep employees in the dark, they will repay the favor by doing as little as possible. If you bring them into the fold, they will behave like valued collaborators. It’s an easy choice for a leadership team to make!
Employees, especially frontline employees, are in charge of your relationships with customers and a single bad customer encounter potentially spreads to create a negative image of your brand. And, while that’s bad enough, poor employee performance may mean poor product quality, neutral or even negative energy in your workplace, and low levels of innovation. Any one of these might cripple your organization, leading to failure.
Moreover, the toxic environment created by even a few bad employees spreads quickly through your organization and customer base. Other employees feed off the negativity of poor workers so that everyone soon performs at minimal levels. Poor customer relationships send negative feedback to other customers and prospective customers while generating conflicts between customers and employees that dampen the enthusiasm and performance of even your best employees.
Because the role of employees in marketing is so great, hiring the best, retaining the best, and developing the best employees is one of the top goals of enlightened businesses, according to SHRM, the global organization of HR managers.
Now that you hopefully recognize the role of employees in marketing, let’s talk about how you create the kind of corporate culture that drives employee engagement and optimizes their role in marketing your businesses.
Just as you need the kind of strong brand consumers demand, you need a strong employer brand that attracts the right employees who form the backbone of your business. The role of employees in marketing is tremendous and having the wrong employees can sink your business fast.
The goal of building a strong employer brand is to create a reputation and image that attracts the best candidates for your current job vacancies. A strong employer brand means developing a great corporate culture and creating a company people want to join because they value the connections that come with their employment, among other core values of a great corporate culture.
Engaged employees work harder and longer; they go beyond their job description to ensure company success, they contribute ideas to improve the company and its brands, and work toward bringing those ideas to life. At Google, for instance, the company creates opportunities for engagement between employees both in service to the brand and to sustain their commitment to the organization. They offer free movie nights, for example, as well as meals and snacks, games to break the tension while working on a stressful project and create pods to encourage workers to socialize and share ideas during work hours.
Creating a better employer brand involves looking at prospective hires with as much effort as you would customers. This makes sense, given that your employees are the life of your organization.
On a related note, don’t forget about your existing employees when you are taking action to appeal to fresh and seasoned job hunters. You don’t have to create a huge expense by re-designing your workspace and offering free meals. Engage existing employees, asking them what they like about working with the company, as well as what needs improvement. Take their feedback and use it to improve the organization, making it one that has high staff satisfaction levels.
Working with HR
Attracting the right talent involves, firstly, getting your HR department behind efforts to build a great culture and work toward hiring folks who’ll fit the culture. Their actions represent the company, so it’s integral that they act in the best interests of the organization. It’s also important for them to be knowledgeable on all the laws that are connected with employees’ rights, such as workers compensation laws, so they can maintain essential policies and ensure that each employee feels cared for and valued. By doing this, your employee brand will strengthen with the assurance that employee rights and satisfaction are of utmost importance to the company.
Specifically, ensure your HR professionals understand the main values of your business so they act in ways that align with those standards. Also, encourage them to build relationships with prospects who might be new hires in months or even years down the road. For instance, it’s common for HR professionals to visit schools and colleges to develop such relationships long before students graduate.
Obviously, you are adding to the duties of an already-busy HR department. Alleviate some of their burdens so that they can focus more time on building a stronger employer brand by using cloud-based HR payroll software that simplifies payroll processing and procedures.
Use social media
A fast way to reach the right talent is by posting on social media. For example, you might post a photo of your breakroom, especially if you incorporate a pool table or other fun activities for employees. That’s a welcome share from a company’s Instagram or Facebook profile, rather than a pic of someone working at a desk.
Also, use your social media to celebrate employees. Not only does this attract the right new employees, but it also strengthens your relationships with existing employees.
This type of social media post sends the message that your workplace is fun, modern, and values your team. If that is the image you want to portray about your company to attract potential hires, then you’re off to a great start!
Position yourself as a leader in the industry by hosting an event (in-person or virtual). Not only does this build a stronger relationship with customers, but you also bring your company to the attention of those who are already working in the industry. Attendees might one day be new hires at your business, so do your best to impress them during this event.
Create events for employees and prospective employees, as well. Even in the day of social distancing, think about sponsoring virtual happy hours for employees. A happy employee is a good employee.
Event marketing is something that many businesses do. Hire help to make sure you cover all the bases and then make sure you avoid these common mistakes.
Strengthening your employer brand
The building process takes time, so be patient with your efforts to strengthen your employer brand. When done right, your employer brand becomes known for being genuine and trustworthy, helping you attract and retain the best talent.
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