Employee Engagement 101: Does Your Culture Value Humans?
What’s the distance between your company culture and your brand? Answer: There shouldn’t be any. A company culture that’s authentic and deep will translate through the employer brand, conveying the same tone, the same mission, the same values to job seekers and new hires that it does to fully entrenched (and hopefully engaged) employees.
But if we’re out of the dark ages in terms of the new World of Work, we’re still in the dim outskirts. Consider employee engagement, a key indicator for one thing, more quantitative data (such as career satisfaction) can be gleaned by employees already at a workplace than those still considering it. If employees are not as engaged as they should be; not buoyed by the spirit of the organization they spend most of their time in; that’s a sign of a visible gulf.
Last month a friend and colleague Susan LaMotte made the smart connection, and it’s been an ongoing talking point for me as well. Susan compared how much we’ve been spending on employee engagement with how successful that output has been. Answer: Depressing: Not very. We’ve spent more than $720 million according to a Bersin study. Compare that to a survey by Gallup that revealed that only 13% of employees consider themselves truly engaged in their work.
If your employees aren’t engaged, that’s a serious detriment to your employer brand, and that’s what going to translate down the pike. Proof is in the pudding — or not — an organization without a strong company culture will lose out to companies that do.
Here are two values it’s key to transmit:
1) Supporting Your Employees As People With Lives
Companies like Apple and Google clearly align employer brand with workplace culture. Why are we still talking about these more mainstream brands you ask? Because they have historically embedded themselves into our collective brain. Innovation, creativity and teamwork are part of that culture, as is the message that to keep people inspired, fresh and happy, the organization has to support them. Job seekers are savvier than ever and will turn on a dime: a company that touts “long hours in the trenches” translates as “doesn’t respect my need for a life outside of work.” One that doesn’t address childcare and benefits for a family translates as “we are more important than your family.” That won’t work, particularly given this intensely competitive recruiting culture, not to mention ever-increasing workplace options.
2) Living Your Mission Statement
Integrity is key among the values external job candidates are shown to hold dear in a prospective employer. That’s what happens when the mission statement is clear, authentic, and transparent. Make sure your employees are part of the mission statement so it aligns their engagement with the company goals — they are the embodiment of your employer brand. And make sure the same clear goals and values in that mission statement are part of your recruiting strategy, your videos, your mobile and social platforms.
There are more ways than ever to convey employer brand, whether to active or passive candidates: social, mobile, onboarding, video. And we have the immense power of analytics to draw from. Yet while the workplace is transforming rapidly, it’s still plagued by some of the same issues that have always plagued it: employees disengage, recruits go where the grass looks greener. There’s still a gulf between the organization, brand and the human being. More than ever, it’s time to change that.
A version of this was first posted on Forbes.