This article was originally posted on Insurance Nerds
by Ben Baker
Every business is different. The question is, do your employees know why, how you are different, and can they tell that story effectively?
Many within your own company may not be able to tell your story effectively. They may not know your genesis, what you believe in, who you wish to serve and how you are valuable to them, or they do not believe the story that you have told them rings true.
Either way, this is a problem.
All of this stems from two simple things, ineffective on-boarding of employees or lack of effective on-going communication.
On-boarding, the first days or weeks of any employee’s existence, is critical to enabling employees to not only understand the culture and brand of the company, but more importantly, to believe in it.
Too many companies spend way too little time fostering a bond between the new hire and the company’s brand and do so to their detriment.
They do not teach new hires:
- What the company believes in and what it stands for.
- Where they have been as a company, where they are and where they are going.
- What makes the company different from their competition, who their best customers are and why those people buy from them.
The biggest reason why this does not happen is that those within the company do not know themselves.
When creating companies, all of this is simpler. The first employees of a company are a band of brothers and sisters working for a single purpose, the survival and eventual growth of the company. They are all in direct contact with the founders, and communication is frequent and on-going because if it is not, the company will not survive the first year or two.
Then companies grow and change. Original employees move on, mass hiring happen, and branch offices develop. The communication is not as tight and direct as it used to be and people are no longer hearing vision and mission directly from those who started the company or were there day one, but through the human relations department established during a period of explosive growth.
The challenge is, those who were the most passionate about the brand, its vision, and its direction are no longer teaching those who are new to the company, an intermediary is. If that intermediary is not crystal clear on the mission, vision, and values of the company and cannot instill the belief of those in the new hires a critical disconnect occurs. There is an immediate break in the chain, and the strength of that chain is vital to the overall success of the company.
We need to focus on making sure that those who bring new hires into our companies have the skills, drive, vision, and passion to develop those who join the family as advocates for the brand.
Each new hire must be taught to tell the story of the brand. It is not enough to be able to recite the mission and vision statement verbatim. Employees need to make that story of the brand their own, so that they internalize it, believe in it, understand how they are part of its success and be able to retell that story both inside and outside the company passionately.
This is not something that does not happen without time and money invested or without on-going commitment. The brand story and promise needs to be lived, valued and communicated by everyone in the company. Corporate beliefs need to be lived by everyone, starting by those who occupy the corner office.
If employees do not see everyone living the brand promise, they will not continue to believe in or retell the brand story because it has no validity to them.
Actions speak louder than words.
So, I leave you with this question. What are you doing to make sure that those within your company believe in and retell your brand story and act accordingly?
The consequences of you not focusing on this can be traumatic.
By just paying lip service to your corporate beliefs and not instilling a roadmap to success in the minds of your employees, they have nothing to believe in. Their work gives them little purpose, and this leads to these sobering facts.
- 70% of employees do not feel engaged at the office – Inc Magazine
- 50% of employees are actively looking for alternative employment – Forbes
- Costing the US economy between $450 and $550 Billion per year in lost productivity and opportunity cost – Gallup
Proper training and effective on-boarding of employees costs way less, especially because you have already invested in hiring them in the first place.
I urge you to review how you communicate internally and see how you can do it better. Those little differences can be all it takes to make unhappy employees happy and engaged, morphing companies from unprofitable to profitability and ultimately long-term success.