A few weeks ago, I read the new Gallup report, The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders. It is really worth a read because it holds incredibly valuable and meaningful information on employee engagement. One of the findings that leapt out at me was this — only 41% of employees felt that they know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors’ brands. No surprise that 60% of executives say they know what their company stands for compared with only 40% of managers who can say the same. The startling fact is that only slightly more than one-third of “other employees” – those nonexecutives and nonmanagers – report that they can explain what their sets their company apart. If you flip this on its head, this finding is telling us that nearly two-thirds of lower level employees are unable and incapable of telling their friends, neighbors and family members – and even worse, customers – what the company’s greater goals and strategies for success are. Just imagine how difficult it is to come to work every day and not have that touch point to drive engagement and meaningfulness. When you next realize that most of these unprepared employees are likely dealing with customers, the urge is to sound the alarm bell. It is practically impossible for an employee to be a positive brand ambassador or brand advocate if he or she cannot articulate why a consumer should choose the company’s product or service over another and furthermore, why they themselves should even go the extra mile to make a difference to the customer. It is also practically impossible to expect your company to have an enduring reputation if it does not have employees who are engaged enough to know why they are there.
Gallup wisely recommends that all new employees should be trained so that they can recite the company’s brand promise and positioning within their first 30 days. I would recommend that management communicate communicate communicate until every employee understands their company’s higher purpose from day one. It needs to be drilled into the employee experience ad nauseum.