Have you ever had an excellent experience with a server in a restaurant? How about the person who helps you at a hotel or car rental desk? Do you think about how someone like that can help enhance your employer brand (and wonder if they might be interested in changing jobs)?
Big smiles, easy to communicate with, kind, and pleasant problem solvers… these are some of the characteristics that immediately come to mind as I think about those pleasant… even delightful experiences.
It’s easy to forget, especially if you work in an office where you don’t see customers, how these people are the face of your organization to your customer. But many times they are the very most important people that enhance your employer brand (or, destroy your employer brand with with a sharp tongue, or impatience for the customer).
I recently checked in at a hotel and had the desk clerk argue with me about a few things. Arguing with me about one thing is bad enough, but there were at least three things she argued about. It was frustrating. It was not delightful. What should have been an awesome experience to welcome me to the property became a sour experience that bugged me my entire stay.
For all the marketers, operations specialists, and strategists involved in giving me a delightful hospitality experience, there was that one person who I actually saw, met, and talked with face-to-face who had a massive impact on the company’s brand.
The funny thing? She probably made less than half, or a quarter, of some of those other jobs. But she had the most, and deepest, impact on how I perceived the organizational brand. She was the face of the organization when I checked in. She was the face of the organization the next day when I had to go to the front desk for something.
Every organizational leader needs to understand the impact that one person, likely a low-paid person, has on your employer brand. No amount of people and hours of meetings can make up for a bad interaction with a customer. Well, maybe you can make up for it, but why spend all those resources when you could simply deliver better experiences to your customers? You need to enhance your employer brand, always, and you need to include the face of your organization as a critical part of that. Here are four ideas, we’d love to hear what you would add:
Enhance Your Employer Brand by Empowering the Face of Your Organization
My wife shared an experience she had at a grocery store in the midwest that had a very liberal policy with regard to price checking items that didn’t have a price sticker on them. The cashier was empowered to listen to, and trust, the customer. Appalling, isn’t it? To think that a customer might tell you that the widget they wanted to get was 2.99… and the cashier put that into the system and moved on.
Contrast that to what I’ve been asked to do: Go back to the shelf and get an item with a sticker on it. Or, more recently, take a picture of where the item was. No big deal, usually… unless it’s on the other side of a big box store, which means you are walking a half mile round trip just to get a price.
Of course, sometimes the cashier makes the journey, or they call a manager over, or they yell over to their colleague just to double check the price you told them and make sure you weren’t stealing fifty cents from them.
I know, I know. This trust in the customer can be abused. But what if, just what if, you could enhance your employer brand by empowering the face of your organization to make decisions and treat the customer with respect? What would that do to increase brand loyalty?
Guess what store my wife and her parents chose to shop at? The one where the cashiers respected and even enjoyed their customers, and weren’t bogged down by rules than made them out to be the heavies.
Enhance your Employer Brand by Rewarding the Face of Your Organization
Did you know there are two major types of rewards you can give your team? These are implicit and explicit. They are quite different. Employee rewards, as you know, can be a really complex thing. And whether you choose implicit or explicit rewards is important.
Explicit rewards are what most people think of when they think of rewards. Yesterday I was at a restaurant during a slow time and overheard the manager telling the two people attending to customers that there was a new rewards program, and if they did something (I didn’t hear what the criteria was), they would all split a $500 bonus. The employees looked thrilled, and you could tell they were thinking of (a) how they were going to meet the goal, and (b) how they were going to spend their share of the spoils.
Explicit rewards are the “money talks” side of rewards. They are the, “Look what I earned today, honey!” money. One of Snowfly’s most popular offerings, and one that our customers and their employees LOVE, are the rechargeable rewards cards (think: a rechargeable debit card with your organizational branding on it). Imagine a server doing something and getting a $20 bonus immediately added to their company branded charge card. That is immediately impactful.
Implicit rewards are things like employee of the month, or a special parking spot, or lunch with the CEO. These are things that don’t hit your P&L, and are easy to deliver on, but can still be immensely powerful.
Did you know that recognizing the efforts or accomplishments of a team member during a company meeting is one of the most powerful rewards there is? Some surveys have put this kind of recognition as more impactful than a cash reward. As humans, we crave this type of recognition.
Of course, some people want their $20. Make sure your rewards program is a healthy and appropriate mix of implicit and explicit rewards. If you want to talk about this with one of our rewards specialists, we’d love to hear what you are doing and what better results you want to see. Contact us for an appointment.
Enhance Your Employer Brand by Hiring the Right Face of Your Organization
Hiring and retention… two of the most important things you’ll deal with as an organizational leader. The cost of hiring and retention has, like everything else, gone way, way up.
Recently I drove by a big box store and saw a big vinyl banner advertising $18/hour entry-level jobs. I was floored, thinking back to the piddly few bucks I made when I first started working. Companies have been desperate to fill positions, and for a long time it has been a seller’s market.
Shortly after that I was at a farm store looking for some weed killer and walked past four kids that were recently hired. They were sitting around chatting as if they were in a locker room… laughing, loud, no regard for customers, not interested in doing any part of their job. I spent at least twenty minutes in that part of the store and the entire time they just chatted with one another, completely ignoring their roles, jobs to be done, and customers.
I was glad I wasn’t one of the managers. As a customer, I was turned off.
You need to hire the right people, and keep them around, so you can effectively enhance your employer brand. Is it time to reevaluate your hiring practices? Do you have the right systems in place? Do you know your turnover rates, and have they improved or gotten worse?
These questions are critical to help you enhance your employer brand. People talk. A bad interview with HR, or a manager, could sour them on your brand. If the turnover rate is too high you might have too many people leaving your organization sharing their perception of your brand. I’ve seen this in companies where people leave and then they spill the beans on what it was really like inside. Bad retention combined with a bad employee experience is not a good strategy if you really want to enhance your employer brand.
Enhance Your Employer Brand by Training the Face of Your Organization
Doesn’t it seem to always come back to training? You just can’t get enough good training!
Your team wants to know what they could do to excel in their roles. They want the knowledge, tools, and permission. You provide this through training. Training is your opportunity to make them aware of who they are, what they represent, and how to best enhance your employer brand. You probably don’t say, “by doing this you’ll enhance your employer brand.” It usually doesn’t matter much to them if/that you say that. Some will care… those who have a bigger vision of what you do and what their role is in that.
People just want to know what to do to excel. They want to go home proud of their contributions and accomplishments. They want to be recognized and rewarded. Proper and consistent training can help lay this out for them. They can know what the rules, boundaries, and expectations are, and they can spend time doing what they need to do to please the customer, and you. They can, and should be, a critical part of your efforts to enhance your employer brand.
Don’t take training for granted. Don’t think of it as a necessary evil, or a chore. Think of it as a way to work to consistency, excellent, and enhanced communication. Think of it as a way to empower your team, because that is what effective training is.
Here’s a bonus idea: When your employees excel in their training, reward them. As you reward them for doing the right things, they’ll be motivated to do more of the right things. Reward them for attending training, for responding well to training, and as you observe them implementing what they’ve learned in training sessions. This is a simple example of the powerful reward loop that should permeate the employee experience.
What Are Your Ideas?
That’s four ideas. How are you going to enhance your employer brand by including the face of your organization in your strategy?
Let’s talk about how you can better enhance your employer brand: