A brand’s culture, vision, and mission should not be just something that companies try to project for customers and not just a series of hollow promises. When a company claims to stand for certain values, they need to reflect those values in their internal operations and policies. It is not enough to be talking about your brand’s priorities and values if words are not backed by actions. When a brand is found to be falling short of its own ethos, the reputational damage can be significant.
How do you ensure that your brand is reflected in the company culture? By guaranteeing that your employees understand, respect, and connect with your brand.
Define your brand’s values and mission
Before you can expect your employees to embrace your brand, you and they need to have a clear understanding of your brand’s mission and values. Create a simple and succinct brand mission statement which people at all levels of the company can grasp and keep in mind at all times. Think about who you are as a company, why you exist, and what you are aiming to achieve together.
The majority of your brand vision and mission should be achievable, but it can help to have some aspirational aspects too. With a clear hold on the brand, your employees will be more likely to make the right decisions in their roles.
Involve employees when defining the brand
Rather than having the brand defined by upper management and enforced on employees, try to involve employees in the definition process. How would they describe the average day working in your company? It might be a fun and relaxed team who are dedicated to helping each other and your customers or a hardworking and structure work environment that strives for perfection at all times. If employees can see the truth and their own input in the brand, they are more likely to feel part of the organization.
Create a sense of team identity
Once you have established what your brand stands for and what you are aiming for, you can set about creating a sense of team identity. When employees feel accepted and valued as part of a team, they are generally more motivated and productive. Some companies include a uniform and/or give their staff branded gifts such as office stationery, stress balls or a fun custom magic 8 ball with unique questions and answers. Team away days, social events and charity fundraising projects can also help to strengthen bonds within the team and create a sense of brand identity.
Reward the right behaviors
Your brand should be laid out through internal policies but then reinforced through leadership, prioritized resources, rewards, and accountability. For example, if the customer is your number one priority, employees should be encouraged and rewarded when they take time away from everyday administration to resolve a customer query. If customers are able to call in with queries, don’t enforce ‘targets’ on how long employees should take to solve the problem. They should take as long as is needed to help the customer. If you have a reward system for financial targets, consider also giving rewards to employees who contribute positively to the company culture.
Hire new employees who fit the brand
You should be considering your brand during all of your recruitment because the employees you take on are ambassadors for your brand. For example, if you are claiming to be an innovative brand, ask interview candidates for an example of when they have innovated in order to solve a problem. If your brand exists to help customers, ask them to respond to a hypothetical scenario in which a person needs support. How would they react?
Invest in employee development
Your employees need to have a work environment and facilities which enable them to perform their role to a high standard and bring the brand values to life. If there are barriers to your employees being able to do this, remove them and take steps to support them. This could include investing in their development through training and mentoring as well as more practical support.