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“People are your best asset” – how to engage your employees for business success

Engaged employees are a company’s most important asset in terms of building brand perception externally; for customers, potential employees and other audiences. So it’s no surprise that our latest What Works Where research shows that ‘ensuring the organisation lives the brand’ is a key objective for B2B marketers.

Strategy

Fran Brosan

FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN

Fran’s focus is advising clients on the strategic role that digital communications and technologies can play in strengthening business performance. She is author of Omobono’s award winning research programme ‘What Works Where in B2B Digital Marketing’ and has 3 IPA Advertising Effectiveness Awards to her name.

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With this in mind, last week we hosted a Business Breakfast for senior marketers to discuss best practice in Employee Engagement – from what’s at the heart of it to what needs to be done to deliver it effectively. Here’s a summary of some of the key discussion points, which we hope will provide some top tips for success.

The Marketing Director of a financial services company shared insights from their award-winning internal e-learning programme, attributing its success to:

A top-down approach. Buy-in to a new company process demands new ways of working, and it’s critical that senior management makes this clear. Internal programmes should go from PA to CEO – with no exceptions.

A strong launch. Being confident at the start clearly sets the tone for an effective roll out. This company saw 95% completion of the e-learning programme within 6 weeks, whereas it had previously taken 6 months to achieve the same results.

Including regional offices. If you’re producing collateral, make sure it goes to every team member in every office. The e-learning programme launch included a branded headphone pack that was sent to 3,300 employees across the UK.

Another contributor from a global oil and gas company said that whether the company is encouraging people to work for them, or articulating its offering to customers, they understand that “our best ideas come from our best asset: our people”. A good example of putting this into practice is the company’s ambassador microsite, which gives people the tools they might need to share stories or information about the company. The top tip from this project? Link the initiative to people’s personal development. With a diverse audience, people might want to engage in different ways – from linking up with their old university to simply talking positively about the company to their network. So a one size fits all approach won’t work. Provide a range of tools, enabling them to pick the stories that suit them best and fit in into their own personal and professional development. Here, too, senior management support was felt to be critical – and videos from the CEO played an important part in the content.

Other observations included:

  • It’s important to separate the right to provide input and the right to make a decision – but also to keep people who made the input, but didn’t have final sign off, sweet in the process!
  • Even in difficult times, when negative perceptions of a company and brand might be felt internally too, employees themselves may continue to have very positive perceptions of the people they worked with and of the work they are doing. So a cohesive community of engaged (and committed) employees can be a key contributing factor to ensuring survival, and to deliver longer term value back to the company.

In summary, lifting the lid on your company to reveal the people within it is one of the most powerful ways to market the company and deliver sustainable long term value. Investing in employee engagement is a vital building block of company success.

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