Nestle Global Chairman and Managing Director, Etienne Benet, has asked all employees, their family members and friends to become “valued brand ambassadors” for the company in the midst of one of the biggest crisis the company has had to face in the recent times.
Can such brand ambassadors be created overnight?
What’s in it for the employees besides their job? What would motivate an employee to stand up for his/ her company against something as stormy as high levels of lead content in a popular and “healthy” snack like Maggie?
Let’s move aside and see in what situations we, as individuals, are willing to lend such whole-hearted, unconditional support? Most often we do it for our immediate family (parents, spouse, children) and close friends. Why? Probably because such relationships naturally create a sense of loyalty. It could also be because they have unconditionally nurtured us; have stood by us and guided us through our good and bad times; have brought joy and peace in our lives; have engaged in building and strengthening our relationship with them and we feel a strong sense of belongingness with them. As human beings we tend to value emotional connect.
An organization that invests in building meaningful relationships with their employees can also form such emotional connect with them. Any effort by an organization which values an employee as a unique individual and not just as one of the employees in the company or an employee code, has a bigger chance to make such connections.
Flexi hours, crèche facility, mentoring, coaching, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), gym facility in the office premises, fun times, work-life balance sessions, family work day etc. are ways in which organizations try to form this connection. However, in my experience I have seen that often these initiatives are just a tick mark as a feel good initiative rather than being meaningful efforts.
For example, one client said that they had gym facility for a couple of years but no one used it and so they removed it. On asking the employees, they said that their work culture didn’t allow any flexibility for them to have used the facility at work. It distresses me to see great initiatives not making an impact with employees because the genuineness in implementing is missing.
Employee engagement efforts that are well thought out, also help to foster a culture of care, warmth, motivation, and stronger feeling of belongingness. This is one of the most effective ways to build loyal internal customers who will be strong brand ambassadors in times of need besides of course leading to lower attrition.
For good times and bad, it makes business sense to have meaningful and genuine employee engagement initiatives.