Shopping For Gems, Employee Engagement, and Branding

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I dug up another BrandXpress gem for you guys today, which speaks to the whole branding & human resources theme we've been engaged in all month: Employee engagement's role in the success of businesses. Here is the post in its full glory:

A recent study by Standard Life shows that the employees the felt part of the business and understood its goals were willing and able to contribute their best to achieving those goals. Your internal communications plan and branding is a huge step toward employee engagement and here is a list of eight things to do about it:

1.Cultivate a culture that reinforces your Brand Contract and encourage employees to “live the brand”
2. Measure the effectiveness of your internal branding strategy to maximize the ROI on your internal branding initiatives
3.Insist that senior management models brand-focused behavior and cultural values
4. Set communication alignment goals (are you even measuring the effectiveness of your internal communications?)
5. Make positive examples of employee behavior that represents your values, mission, brand and business strategy
6. Reward employees for demonstrating their commitment to your brand contract and values
6. Show daily how commitment to mission and values is the touchstone that drives your decisions
7. Harness the entire creativity of every employee in bringing the brand to life
8. Involve all departments in branding, not just marketing – HR, operations, customer support, development, finance, and more.

I have no idea what #2 is about, but the other seven make a whole lot of sense.

(Okay... that's not true. I know what #2 is about... but I can't stand business-speak so I completely tuned it out.)

I particularly love #7 and #8:
"Harness the entire creativity of every employee in bringing the brand to life, and involve all departments in branding, not just marketing – HR, operations, customer support, development, finance, and more."

Wow. And yes. I've seen this in action, and it is absolutely magical. This isn't to say that every employee is creative or has something revolutionary to offer, but... well... wait a minute... Why not?

I guess it all depends on whom you are hiring, why you are hiring them, and how you are recruiting them to begin with.

Some of the questions you have to ask yourself is this: Are you hiring people who really click with you and your staff? Are you hiring people who were born to work for you? (Really.) Are you hiring people who embody your brand (or who at can at least rock it for you every day)? Are you hiring enthusiastic people? Brand embassadors? Creative problem-solvers?

If not, why not? I mean... really. Why not?

Is it that you can't find peoplelike this? (If so, you aren't looking very hard, because I run into two or three of them every week.) Is it that your HR/Recruiters can't find them? (Are they throwing safe choices at you instead of finding edgier candidates?) Or is it that you just choose to hire conservatively?

It's a question you really need to ask yourself... and answer truthfully.

Employee engagement is at the core of your business' success, and it starts with HR. It really does. Marketing and Sales might seem more important, but trust me on this: Get more involved with recruiting at your company, from the "search" phase to the selection phase to the actual interview phase. If you're too busy, bring HR into your department's fold. Invite your HR department to sit in on your departmental or project management meetings. Don't just make them sit there, though. Invite them to participate and contribute. Ask for their advice. Bring them into your department's culture. Let them experience your department's strengths and weaknesses firsthand. By doing so, give them the tools to recruit people who will add value to your team and fit-in with a minimal amount of friction.

Don't just give them a list of skills and attributes to look for in potential candidates. Help them understand what you need so completely that even if you can't find the time to be as active as you would like in the search for your next great executive, they will be able to find the perfect candidates for you. Not just the cookie-cutter applicant with the right keywords on their CV or the right career profile, but the kind of person who will also energize your company, engage the rest of your staff, and help you take your brand to new heights.

Your employees are your most valuable investment. Bar none. Take the time to invest wisely.

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