Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
Employees as marketers? Who would have thought?
Ever go out for a bite and encounter a server whom you know right off the bat hates where she works? What does that tell you about the company’s culture? Would you consider working there or collaborating with them? Today’s generation of workers is a lot different than the boomers who are retiring in droves. Smart employers are engaging and empowering their younger employees. The result is loyal employees who are ardent ambassadors for their employer. You can’t buy that kind of credibility.
Recent reports reveal that generation Y, those born between 1982 and 2000, are more family-centric and more likely to hop from job to job. They’re also more prone to view their supervisors as equals, unlike the boomers. But when given a voice that’s heard, the results can be very positive for a company.
Take the example of a company based in San Francisco whose employees in Munich, Germany said they wanted to start a refugee orientation program. The CEO not only agreed but also allowed employees who volunteered to develop and conduct this program on company time. Think about the positive impact on morale and attitudes! Empowered by that decision, these employees told friends, relatives, and people in the community about their program which has also been very successful and well-received in Munich. The program has also garnered positive press there as well as abroad. The message is more powerful than any paid one. And because employees are empowered and happy at work, employee attrition is below average.
Employee ambassadors who seek and are granted permission to volunteer or perform community chores on company time are some of the best marketing tools one can have and it doesn’t cost any more than what the company is already paying them. This isn’t to suggest, however, that all companies should permit their employees to volunteer on company time.
The key point is that employers need to listen to their employees more and encourage input and feedback on matters relating to work and business. Those that do and also suggest to employees key areas that matter to the company will experience not only greater employee satisfaction but also less turnover. Some of these key areas could be with nonprofits whose mission or by-products align with those of the company.
So while a marketing budget and department are essential to a company’s success, so, too, are the people who live, toil and breathe the organization daily. Be honest and transparent. Support and communicate openly and frequently with them for they will be the greatest compliment to your marketing program.
Marketers often rely on surveys and polls before starting a new campaign and to measure their success. Consider the same for company ambassadors!