Your employees are your brand

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As the business owner, you aren’t always available to communicate with existing and potential clients. This is why you need employees that embody your brand and are advocates for your vision and mission. Here are some pointers to help you:

  • Recruit people whose personal purpose aligns with your brand. Let them live both brands.
  • Enhance personal and broader brand alignment by developing staff skills. Keep them growing.
  • Manage your relationship with staff closely. They are human, be wise.
  • Realise that as an entrepreneur you are a visionary and making a difference.

  Are your employees your key brand advocates?

This post has been repurposed for this blog. Original article can be sourced from: Entrepreneur Mag

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27 comments
    Nobody sums it up better than Disney when they say your front line equals your bottom line As a consultant to the resturant industry it always amazed me that owners placed their most valuable asset (their customers) in the hands of their least trained least experienced lowest motivated staff members (their waiters) There must be a better way to do this
    Hire for passion and teach the skills because it is almost impossible to do it the other way around. The challenge is that most small business owners simply will not invest in training But what if I spend all that time and effort and money training them and then they leave? I often hear Well what if you don't train them and G-d forbid they decide to stay? Is my standard response
    Many companies focus all their branding efforts on marketing activities such as advertising campaigns and packaging yet one of the most powerful brand assets your company has is your people. Regardless of which industry you’re in building a strong brand requires that all employees feel connected to the corporate brand and understand their role in turning brand aspirations into reality. If you’re not inspiring your talent to be brand ambassadors you’re missing out.
    When your employees can be their ‘authentic best selves’ in the workplace productivity and retention increase. Helping your employees unearth their greatest strengths and integrate them into everything they do is essential to your success and the success of your team.
    Agreed MikeSaidWhat. One needsPASSION first which influences the attitude to the positive. Inrecruiting potential even make the circle bigger in terms of recruiting the staff that support your business and will carry the business brand as though it were theirs. In other words own the brand. When running a small business one needs passionateletrustworthy personnel with a positive attitudebecaause the environment requires agility. My summation is thatwith those traits in any human being staff can be trainable understand the vision mission your brand stands for.
    One of the most common (and most damaging) branding misconceptions I've encountered:the personal brand and the corporate brand compete (rather than cooperate). Nothing could be further from the truth! The most successful companies help employees understand their personal brands capitalizing on the integration of these individual traits with the broader corporate objectives. It’s called applied personal branding and it’s a powerfully simple strategy. It’s based on the principle of personalpluscorporate not personalvs.corporate. When employees are clear about who they are and what makes them exceptional (a process that you can easily implement by promoting self discovery) and they have been educated with an understanding of the corporate brand objectives they can apply their unique skills and expertise to activate the corporate goals. Thinkconsistency notconformity!
    So having said all of this how do you actually go about creating this environment in your business what are thesteps to put in place are their courses to send staff on what are your suggestions?
    Important to note is that identifying talent that is aligned to your business starts at recruiting stages. I found meaning inThe Harvard Business Review published article on 21st Century Talent Spotting written by Claudio Fernández-Aráoz author of It’s Not the How or the What but the Who (Harvard Business Review Press 2014) wherein he makes interesting observations. He sayscompetency-based appointments have become insufficient for 21st century operations - not that skills are not important but we need vision and mission aligned personnel first and foremost particularly in this day and age.So the question is not whether your company’s employees have the right skills because in effect you could have the highly skilled teamwho come to work to do the job and that's it? Or is itwhether they have the potential to learn bring their potential andopen mindednessto the occasion and of course the biggest nut here is agility? With all said and done can you trust them to be your brand ambassadors.
    @MikeSaidWhat and @PhindileXaba what would your proccess be in finding the right people in the first place? Do you go on gut when hiring or are there more solid proccesses you follow? Yes training can be done butI'm more interested in how to get the right people. It can be costly hiring the wrong fit!
    Business executives have a clearer picture of where the company is heading than their employees. Make sure you're keeping employees in the loop regarding things like structural changes that affect the bottom line or new strategic initiatives that will shape the company's future. When you assign a task don't assume your employees know how it will connect to the bigger picture so tell them how it relates to the company's mission. This will help them understand how and why the work they are doing is important thus making them work harder on the project and take greater pride in it.
    @MikeSaidWhat and @PhindileXaba what would your proccess be in finding the right people in the first place? Do you go on gut when hiring or are there more solid proccesses you follow? Yes training can be done butI'm more interested in how to get the right people. It can be costly hiring the wrong fit!
    @Clint I think too many small businesses are trying to formalise this too much perhaps it just starts with sharing yourvision over breakfast and getting those who work with you to understand what is happpening in your head
    My staff are not on the same page as me! Ya think? Most of them are not even reading the same book as you and that is because you have not told them what book you are reading. That is where staff training starts it begins with common goals and aspirations. Them understanding yours and you understanding theirs
    I believe it starts off with understanding THEIR dreams and aspirations that will give a very clear insight as to whether you share the same values or not. We are small business owners few of us have the resources for a full HR department (I am the HR dept and the accountant and the marketing team etc)
    Do you yhave a LINK to that article it would be great to share?
    Helping your employees unearth their greatest strengths and integrate them into everything they do is essential to your success and the success of your team Gonna have to steal that it is so well put thank you
    @Phindi I found the Link 21st Century Talent Spotting
    Great!!! Think I should share with oterh simplybiz members. Here goes -https://hbr.org/2014/06/21st-century-talent-spotting
    I agree with Mike especially in small business it should not be so formal. Just share your thoughts with your staff encourage open conversations about the company what works their thoughts foster an environment where your staff will naturally become embassadors rather.
    I agree with MikeSaid that in SMMEs we multi-task. Asan owner of your business you would typically be the person who has a face-to-face with potential incumbents. A general conversation about anything and everything would be a good start to determine where their passion lies thus departing from the traditional way of conducting interviews where you hone inon their skills. In the contrary you can ask them to share anecdotes about how they survived some situation or other in their lives. You see @TheTasyChef when you do this you bring down thatveil of guard and properness to the interview you allow them to be themselves. With this exercise we do not tick boxes in our interviews we have a conversation about life and in those stories you look for their dreams their vision where their passions lie whether they had been railed off their axis and managed to return to the centre. All these are traits of an entrepreneur which I believe even your employee should possess.
    So my next question is - once you have the staff how do you keep them and keep them motivated?
    Thanks everyone appreciate the comments.
    It's a pleasure what business are you in @Clint?
    Well it is certainly not with salary increases... although they are important they do not KEEP staff motivated I sued to joke that in 1984 I earned R600 and had R29-50 left in 2017 I could earn R60 000 and be lucky to have R29-50 left... we quickly learn to spend what we earn Recognition and appreciation is the key!
    Great Article and interesting read Thanks!
    Another thing to remember is that a number of the staff you employee are milleniums they don't view THE FUTURE in the smae light that you do. To many of them (not all) the future is this weeekend and not the end of the month or the end of the year. For this reason a whole new set of incentiveshave to be devised. I found that one of the most effective was to carry airtime vouchers in my pocket and when someone did something great I would reward them instantly
    Great question @Clint. The big question is how do you retain the employees that are in sync with the brand's vision. @Clint thebest internal communications strategy is to include internal PR programmes within your enterprise - it doesn't matter whether you have two or ten employees - the principle applies across the board as it will help build the company culture. Your employees may even have useful insights about the external comms if given a chance to express themselves. So here are a few things we can do in our businesses that will not cost us a cent but they can save you your reputation. It is a pre-corrective intervention – arrest it before it happens approach. Always give context to the vision - conduct check-ins (structured or unstructured) in the morning and before they leave. You are checking the temperature without beingtoo obvious but you are also handing over ownership. From time to time request one of them to give an elevator pitch about what the organisation stands for. This will give you an idea and the level of their understanding of the brand. Respect their contributions by acknowledging their inputs. We know that the best innovations have come out of employees who feel valued heard and see some of their ideas taken seriously (of course if they are not going to be too costly). These are not be all end all but they are a starting point.