“The best word of mouth is how a company does business every single day” – John Moore, The Passion Conversation, Brains on Fire
I took a departure from my normal (and sometimes boring) HR conferences last week to attend The Gathering in stunning Banff, Alberta . Not only were the vistas amazing but the content, speakers and audience were tremendous and so on point with everything I do and believe in. The speakers were all talking about creating cult brands – brands that everyone knows and passionately follows. Brands like Lululemon, Zappos, Molson, MLSE, Big Rock Brewery, Converse, Movember and so much more.
What was cool is that they all were talking not only about the passion and engagement of the customer and community but also of the employees of these iconic brands. These people get it. They know that employees have evolved from 9-5 clock-punchers, that they no longer want to separate work from life. That they want work to be part of life (and they know it should be since it does often consume the most hours in your life). Gone are the days when balancing work and life was the goal (and don’t get me started on work-life balance). Employees want to be proud of what they contribute, motivated to make a difference, and want to make what they do part of their own personal brand.
For companies to ignore this, it is a huge and very costly problem. Companies work hard to develop an amazing external brand but if their internal or employer brand is tarnished, they won’t see lasting success or growth with enlightened employees. Why is that? Well, simply put, most employees (as do most humans) love to talk. We, the big we, love to complain more than we love to compliment.
It’s human nature and it’s really damaging to companies if the complaints that are shared are negative about work and/or how bad a company is internally. News travels fast and bad news even faster. No-one wants to work for a company that has a bad rep and that bad rep is costing companies big-time.
It costs when people leave and no-one will come to replace them. It costs when people won’t put in that 100% because they don’t feel valued. It also costs when savvy consumers don’t want to associated or purchase good from a company that they can’t trust. They hear about employee discontent and they will take their business elsewhere and the negative talk keeps growing and growing, costing more and more. These costs will cripple a company and cost much more than most external marketing budgets.
Good companies build great employer brands and know the importance of making sure their employees are motivated, engaged and listened to just as much as the importance of building an external brand with catchy logos, tag-lines or viral commercials.
What’s your company’s employer brand? Is it as good (or ideally, even better) than your external brand? Watch for part 2 on improving a company’s employer brand.