By Larnie Higgins, president, Planet Studio
Employees have the potential to be more than an expense item on your P&L statement. You can classify them as brand enthusiasts if they brainstorm new ideas, recommend your business to friends and create genuine connections with customers. If members of your team don’t display the aforementioned traits, there are steps you can take to remedy this.
There are three compelling reasons to invest the time to turn employees into your biggest fans: opportunities to increase sales and profits, enhance employee retention and transform employees into a high-impact sales force.
Enthused employees are more productive and can drive increased revenue. Their contribution to a unique customer experience generates and can help sustain a competitive edge. But first, you need employees to connect with your brand if you expect them to pass their passion onto your patrons. Customers who have a positive and memorable experience are much more likely to return, as well as to recommend your establishment to others.
Secondly, a high turnover rate leads to additional costs associated with recruiting, hiring and training of new associates, as well as potential overtime that may be needed if your team is temporarily understaffed. Retaining employees eliminates unnecessary spending and adds to a stable work environment. It’s a lot easier to retain good talent than to recruit new staff members.
Lastly, human capital can be a very powerful sales and marketing tool. Employees serve as the ultimate brand ambassadors, spreading positive messages about your company to customers and prospects. Your employees are vital because they not only assist in daily operations, but can also provide priceless public relations efforts via positive word-of-mouth.
If your business suffers from high employee turnover or the majority of your staff are not raving about your operation to others, here are a few steps you can take to inspire and connect with your team:
Brand Education – Your employees need to know your brand well enough to explain it to those outside of your business. Brands can evoke feelings of pride, happiness and trust. Employees are more likely to connect with a brand if they know why the brand was founded, as well as its goals and upcoming promotions and events.
Positive Behavior — Whether you use a corkboard to display thank-you notes or social media, it’s important to spread the word that your employees matter and they are doing great work.
Tools of the Trade — Ensure employees have everything they need to achieve and exceed expectations. Employees won’t make time to praise your company if they are frustrated because they don’t have what they need to do their job.
Management Training — Managers need the tools and skills to work with individual employees to set career goals, accurately assess their progress and provide detailed feedback.
New Opportunities — Help employees envision a future within your company. Management should acknowledge the strengths of individuals and build a road map to help them achieve their career goals.
Flexibility — Employers who remain flexible when an employee’s home life becomes a priority are highly desirable. Team members are more likely to become a raving fan of your company if they feel valued as a complete person.
Community Connections — Make employees aware that your business contributes to the community. Encourage them to get involved with local non-profit organizations. Employees can bond outside of the workplace while helping important causes with fundraising or event coordination.
Morale — Sharing work-appropriate jokes or funny anecdotes breaks up the day and can create connections. It also eliminates some job pressure and anxiety so your staff can focus on customers.
Small changes can turn your employees into your biggest fans. It can make a difference in your work environment, turnover rate and, more importantly, create employees who share their enthusiasm with customers, which contributes to sustainable success.
Award-winning creative strategist Larnie Higgins founded Planet Studio in 1994. His background in entertainment as creative director at The Discovery Channel and his hunger for new technology drive Planet Studio to forge new ground in brand integration. Larnie provides thought leadership for clients related to product strategy, message development, media and marketing plan execution. For more information, visit www.planetstudio.com.
Disclaimer: The article’s author provided these tips as thought-starters. You may wish to consult an attorney for legal guidance before implementing marketing efforts.