We all know the importance of a raving fan or brand ambassador. Those loyal followers that purchase your product or service time and again. They are willing to recommend you to others and share their experience with their friends. These individuals are pure gold to any business, but what about your internal advocates? Taking care of your own and growing a tribe from within will help to make your business a better place to work and help to spread your message organically through your employees.
Your employees, everyone from customer service representatives who may be the first point of contact, to individuals in HR or Finance, play integral roles in your business. They keep things running smoothly and ensure your customers have pleasant experiences. They can be happy and excited about their job and your brand – or the opposite – which could have a negative effect on other employees, your customers, and ultimately the success of your brand.
Corporate Journey Mapping
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We’ve all heard of Customer Journey Mapping – tracking the journey or steps your customer takes to interact with your brand, make a purchase, submit an inquiry, etc. It’s often used as a means to discover what is working and where improvements can be made, to create a more convenient and pleasant customer experience. What not do the same thing internally in your organization and its various departments?
There are a number of areas you should examine to see if there is room for improvement. Start with taking a good hard look at your departments and try to understand the journey your employees have to take. Understanding department gaps can help you avoid disconnect, bottleneck, and save time and frustration for everyone involved. Next move on to the employee experience. Does everyone seem informed and on the same page? Do you have the proper training and technology? Are you creating a positive atmosphere, providing incentives, or providing encouragement and opportunity for growth? Do your employees seem happy and excited to come to work? This brainstorm session can help you identify what you currently have in place and where you’re falling short.
Here are a few main areas you might look to improve:
1) Culture & Transparency
It’s important, especially as your company grows, to try to maintain a consistent company culture across all sites or locations. You must first understand your company mission and values, and then be able to concisely communicate that to employees. Whether it be through a company document, video, or sit down meeting. Find a way for this education and on-boarding process to be fun and memorable.
Equally as important is transparency in the company. Employees like to feel part of the organization and the more that you take the time to inform people about changes in the company, additions, new sites, etc. you are only going to contribute to morale and have everyone on the same page. Try putting someone in charge of sending out a weekly company update, internal newsletter, or even a yearly company meeting where employees can ask the c-suite questions.
2) On-Going Training & Tools
Give your team what it needs to succeed. Having an on-going feedback loop is important to understand what is and isn’t working for employees. You can determine if investments need to be made in new technology, a more robust knowledge base, or if training modules need to be altered. On-going training is critical to give both higher level managers and the employees they’re responsible for the best chance they have to succeed; to comprehend and feel confident in their day-to-day duties.
3) Growth & Development
Every employee should be interested in growing and developing as a person, and if they’re not you should be encouraging them in this direction. Through periodical reviews constructive feedback can be a means to evaluate performance and make suggestions for personal improvement. Perhaps you can send certain employees to a customer experience conference, further education to help them in their position, or gift them a particular book they could learn from. The gesture doesn’t need to be expensive, it’s just important that it’s made.
4) Employee Engagement & Rewards
Is your work environment one that is positive and pleasant to be in? Whether it be through physical enhancements, company activities, incentives, or rewards – happier employees often translates to harder workers, and better experiences for your customers. Internal social networks like Jostle can help employees to feel connected and parties or activities for staff can help them to feel valued and enhance team morale. Even something as small as going out of your way to make conversation with your employees can go far.
It can be daunting, but above all remember to be kind. It really is as simple as thinking about how you would want to be treated and investing the time, energy, and money needed to create a positive work environment for your staff.