Annual “Best Places to Work” and “Happiest Employees” lists such as those found in publications like Forbes, Fortune Magazine, and more have taught us that keeping employees proud and satisfied can have extremely beneficial effects on a business. A sense of pride stemming from feeling appreciated in a company has been frequently cited as leading to increased productivity. When employees see their personal success as inextricably tied to company success, their own hard work becomes a personal investment.
But creating this type of positive corporate culture yields not just internal benefits, but also produces an interesting side effect that benefits the external image. In the right company culture, employees willingly become stewards of a company’s brand. Each day, they leave their offices and head out into the world to fulfill roles in marketing and PR, most times without even realizing it. Word of mouth is a popular and very efficient avenue for marketing in the current economic climate, and when the conditions are right, nobody carries a brand message with more authenticity than employees.
Some of the largest and most influential companies in the country, like Google and Pixar have become quite famous for creating nontraditional workspaces and more casual, flexible work processes for employees. The various successes of these companies indicate that creativity and innovation thrive in these types of environments, but there is more to the formula than just a “fun” place of business. The secret lies in culture; fostering a culture in which team members feel valuable as a part of the whole can turn them into powerful champions of their own brand.
Thinking so far outside the box is not requisite for cultivating this kind of enthusiastic employee. Fidelity Investments offers outstanding professional development programs and tuition reimbursements, helping employees help themselves while serving the company’s interests. Even Hilton Worldwide’s simple focus on hospitality transcends just treating its customers right; employees find the same warmth and spirit of accommodation as the hotelier’s guests, landing them atop CareerBliss.com’s 2012 job satisfaction survey. As a result, these individuals, who turn the wheels of everyday operations, are now taking the time to actively evangelize for the company. Outsiders can clearly see these signs, creating a mystique about the ‘dream’ of working for these organizations, and it reflects extremely positively on the quality of the respective brands.
In a time when every individual has been granted a louder voice than ever before thanks to our interconnectedness, it’s not just the CEOs and the hired spokespeople out there touting a brand’s many virtues. Today, brand evangelism has to come all the way from the bottom and resonate throughout the company to create the kind of credibility that can skyrocket a brand to the forefront. Companies that succeed in turning their employees into their own most vocal supporters can win big.