Tom Brady might not be your company's brand ambassador, but you do have your very own team of powerful advocates sitting right down the hall. Employees not only have the potential to be the most authentic expression of your brand, they’re also your most trusted messengers - both internally and externally. By engaging your employee brand ambassadors, everyone wins – including HR.
Here’s what makes a great employee brand ambassador and how HR can help them thrive:
What Makes an Effective Employee Brand Ambassador
An employee brand ambassador is an advocate for and champion of your company's mission. The most effective ambassadors are those who exemplify your brand in its best light. They're driven, highly engaged employees that have a demonstrated commitment to your organization's success. Ambassadors feel they're part of something bigger - something special - and what they're doing is both valuable and of meaning to their workplace. And they're throughout your organization: across all departments, levels, offices - and generations.
Win-Win: HR and Employee Brand Ambassadors Need Each Other
When it comes to increasing benefits utilization, employee brand ambassadors are one of HR's most powerful tools. There’s nothing more effective for boosting awareness and utilization rates than a positive testimonial from an employee shared with a fellow colleague. And for attracting top talent, brand ambassadors can be some of your most persuasive recruiters.
On the flip side, brand ambassadors need the support of HR to grow professionally while being supported by the company. Everything HR does to create and sustain company culture, reinforce corporate brand and organizational mission, and ensure the health and well-being of their employees improves relationships with brand ambassadors.
How HR Can Help Ambassadors Thrive
Marketing can help define the company brand, but HR helps bring it to life by providing an internal experience that echoes the promise to the outside world. Here are five ways HR can help keep employee brand ambassadors engaged and thriving:
- Get to know your employees - and lead them to self-discovery. Utilize online surveying, virtual and in-person town hall meetings, and one-on-one meetings. Unlock potential and nurture talents through coaching and mentoring programs, regular career evaluations, guest speakers and workshops. And train your managers to be on the front line fueling the cause and funneling key information back to HR.
- Design benefits and programs that support work-life integration. Offer employees better care options for themselves, as well as their loved ones, so they can stay focused and at their best at work. When it comes to wellness initiatives, think creatively about incorporating healthy habits stealthily into the average work day, and consider gamifying your programs.
- Offer ongoing learning opportunities. Work with managers to design educational initiatives that meet both the needs of employees and the organization. Online learning sites like Coursera, Lynda.com, Udacity and Khan Academy offer infinite opportunities for easy, self-guided instruction. Also, consider creating a library of skill-sharing videos featuring employees.
- Make company culture a top priority. From "Company Kayak Thursdays" to family movie night to volunteering at the local soup kitchen, provide opportunities that feed the soul, create real bonds between colleagues, and reinforce what makes employees really want to come to work each day. Ask ambassadors to share highlights and photos across social media.
- Sing their praises. Recognize the work of your ambassadors organization-wide. Consider a weekly challenge where departments share shining examples of your brand at its best. And keep testimonials, career case studies and employee videos fresh and varied on your careers site.
Employee brand ambassadors are only as strong as the company brand, values and culture they experience every day. If you build it, they will come. And all your hallways will lead there.
HR Leaders Also Read:
- Put Your HR-Marketing Partnership to Work
- 7 Ways Consumerism is Changing the Workplace
- Stand Out from the Crowd: How HR Brand Impacts Recruitment
- 10 Key Questions to Ask About Your HR-Brand Partnership
- 9 Ways to Gamify Your Wellness Program