Naomi Simson’s Brand Story
At the launch event for the Dream Employers, as a participant of the panel – James Garriock, CEO Insync Surveys asked me to respond to the following questions… I share with you the essence of my answers – Naomi Simson’s brand story.
Brand is the most appealing attribute for a Dream Employer. What builds a brand and do you think a strong brand equates to a great employer. Why?
Brands are built in the hearts of our customers through the relationships they have with that organization. Every customer touch point adds or detracts from that relationship, the brand is not advertising – but how people experience the brand. It is the people they meet, the stories they hear, what they see on social network sites that form people’s opinions about a business. People question if they can trust and the believe the story. It is no different in building an employer brand. In the Dream Employers report, we see that Australians and Kiwi’s believe in these brands… but the number one way that people validate what they believe in is by checking with existing employees. If the story that employees tell about a business is different to what people believe to be true then the brand reputation is damaged.
This is why employees are the new customers. Each employee has a voice (and could be a personal publisher)… as such it is up to leadership teams to stay vigilant and committed to the employee experience – because that will mirror the customer experience.
2. Not everybody has the money to create a household brand name. What other ways can employers make themselves more attractive?
I don’t really agree that it is the size of the budget that creates a ‘brand name’. In fact, quite the contrary – all the marketing funds in the world cannot change perceptions. ‘Icing on mud pie’ springs to mind. Think BP – at them moment people are confused. All the promotional budget spent on ‘convincing’ us that it is a ‘clean brand’ – when a mishap has undone this notion. I have no doubt that the leadership team is committed to a clean planet. But the incident (actions) outway that belief.
I shared the story of when Steve Jobs returned to Apple…. And focused the business back to its core purpose – cutting many programs and products. It was not advertising that has put Apple where it is today – it is the execution of purpose… it’s never ever giving up commitment to producing the best devices on the planet. The consumer promise is met with integrity so the word will travel. People believe in what it stands for – and the advertising reinforces that.
So it is not the size of the budget that counts – it is the commitment to vision, values and keeping people aligned that will make the difference in creating a house hold name – together with the authenticity of the message.
3. Culture is a dominant attraction driver. What is the importance of reward and recognition when trying to build a healthy working culture?
Whilst our Employee Experience manager, Megan at RedBalloon is famous for saying ‘I don’t think we have an engagement secret at RedBalloon’… I think we do have something – but the reality it is not rocket science. It is quite simply a never ever give up; we are never ever finished, commitment to our people.
Simply said we say at RedBalloon:
- Does everyone know what they are here to do?
- Did anyone notice?
- Do people go home feeling like a winner?
It is not the perks at RedBalloon that has created a culture – it is the shared sense of purpose [We are all changing gifting in Australia forever] and our shared values. Recognizing people for living the RedBalloon values is part of our DNA. We are all RedBallooners, ‘one for all and all for one’. I know that I server our 50 employees and in so doing they are able to truly serve our customers.
People need to be told that they are the heroes, and be authentically acknowledge for their contribution. No leader can run the business on their own… we must bring people along for the ride. A little bit of praise goes along way towards that.
4. Reward and recognition was rated just as highly as pay and personal interest. Why do you think this is?
People have a choice – if people have talent and determination it is up to them to choose where they work. Once that person is inside an organization it is also up to that person to determine how much of their ‘discretionary’ effort they choose to give to that organization.
It is a fundamental of human nature – the need to belong and be noticed. More than ever there is a melding between the work week and weekend. People want to contribute to something bigger than themselves… and simply recognizing people’s contribution does so much for making that person feel great about where they work and why they choose to work there.
We know that people will forget that they were acknowledged within a week of receiving the accolade. Which is why reward and recognition programs are so important. It means there is a platform of saying ‘thanks’. Leaders and managers are reminded that it is an imperative because a program is in place.
It is not hard to notice what people contribute – but a structured approach to recognition will make the difference of making sure that no one gets forgotten.