Why Becoming a Better Place to Work Improves Your Brand

Content employees are like gold when it comes to public perception and relationship management

Having a strong brand is essential for organizational success.

When companies and nonprofit agencies think about their brand, they are usually astute enough to consider factors beyond the approved color palette and logo. They frequently consider how certain audiences perceive and interact with them – the media, donors, volunteers, foundations, governmental bodies, clients.

On its face, this is a perfectly rational approach when it comes to thinking about brand identity and reputational management. However, the problem is that these considerations are all outwardly focused.  In the 21st century, savvy organizations and businesses that want to protect and sustain a strong brand would be wise to look within – at their employees.

Everyday employees might not seem like much of a force to be reckoned with. But today, thanks to options afforded by technology, the competition for talent and a better understanding of how employees can impact brand image, nonprofits and businesses are increasingly vested in becoming a better place to work.

Employee engagement is loosely defined as how workers feel about their place of employment. When employees are engaged, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), they evoke satisfaction and pride. They feel valued and connected to the organization’s mission and success. On the other hand, employee disengagement looks and feels very different – characterized by complaining, gossiping, making excuses, a lack of motivation, performance stagnation and generalized disinterest, so says Entrepreneur magazine.

[tweet bird=”yes”] “Any company that wants to succeed should consider how to best develop talent and build mutually beneficial relationships with their staff,” [/tweet] says Vanessa Wakeman of New York City-based PR and events planning firm The Wakeman Agency.

When employees fall through the cracks and become disengaged, the repercussions can affect not only individual contributors, but the entire enterprise as well.

Here’s why:

The Internet. Apparently the World Wide Web is now 25 years old, but the way disengaged employees use it against companies is still relatively new. Thanks to sites like Glassdoor and others, current and former employees can now post reviews of companies and organizations from a worker’s perspective. Employers that develop a track record or reputation for having “wronged” or poorly treated employees can suffer in the brand department. Aside from personal gripes, even generalized claims that workplaces don’t care about work-life balance, marginalize diversity or are mired in outdated policies and practices can create a poor public perception. This is pretty major because about 50 percent of all job seekers check out Glassdoor reviews before they apply for a position or before they accept a job.

Word of Mouth. Did you know that the average person in America knows 600 people? Though the typical person only trusts up to 25 people, this doesn’t mean that their opinions and viewpoints don’t cast a much broader net. When people talk, someone is listening. Employees who are disenchanted with their employer, as a collective, can do extensive damage to an organization’s brand, affecting others’ buying choices and discouraging potential talent. [tweet bird=”yes”] “When people love their job, they tell you, and when they hate it, they’ll tell you as well,” [/tweet] Wakeman says.

Performance. Disengaged employees not only wish they were somewhere else during work hours, they also diminish organizational performance. The impact of a lackadaisical attitude, sense of lethargy and disinterest can be severe. This affects profitability and productivity, and is evidenced by turnover, safety incidents, absenteeism, poor product quality and customer complaints. When clients or customers have a poor experience as a result of disengaged employees, the odds of them returning for service or supporting a company declines. Remember what that embarrassing Comcast customer service phone call did to the company’s reputation, as the incident made headlines and garnered hundreds of thousands YouTube views?

The Wakeman Agency is committed to being a place where people love to work. In that spirit, the Agency recently unveiled its vision for the near future – one that includes how employees and contributors are to be treated, trusted and rewarded. In a future post, we will explore how an organizational Vision should integrate its philosophy and approach to talent as it solidifies other key goals.

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