Businesses which care about their impact at every level have already caught on to the fact that building a reliable, innovative and service-based reputation is key.  It’s as important, if not even more important as their product or service.  However enlightened business leaders don’t focus on customers first.  They focus on their employees.   Leaders who operate at a higher level,  know that the internal culture and offer are as important as the external offer.   As a result, for these business leaders, their employees are more likely to celebrate the company and brand from an authentic place.  This article talks about how you can genuinely build your reputation with your employees first.

You and I both know that when we do business with a company, it’s not usually the leader or the marketing manager we are transacting with.   It is the people who work in that organisation.   We all have tales of great customer service and poor customer service.  Yet it is the people in the organisation who we remember.

Attitude is king

Many of your people will be great at what they do.  Some will know what to do, but won’t always, and some will likely need more information.  In some respects, the levels of ability are a bit of a red herring. What will be infectious is your employees’ attitude toward you as an employer.  I would rather have a room full of people who loved the business, and bought into the concept but needed some training, than fully trained employees who were lukewarm or even disliked the organisation.

vibes from your employees

Customers feel the vibes of your employees. It can’t be helped, energetically we are all giving off vibes. Even more importantly, your employees are likely connected in a way they have never been before in human history.  Such is the power of social media.

Knowing that my employees were a kind of social media business card for my business could well fill me with horror.  The truth is, if as a business you make a newsworthy gaffe, then it’s entirely possible many people would know about it in seconds.  We all know bad news is inevitable.

Consider the potential for either sharing good news or bad news.   All of your employees have friends, family, and social networks, whether they are online or not.  What your employees are saying about you, your business, your product, and your service is vital.

It follows that it’s increasingly vital to know what reputation you are building for your team.  What do they think? What are they saying to friends and family and potential customers about your business?

Ask your employees what they think

I talk to people a lot about their work.  I ask them whether they like it or not.  Whether they believe in what they do.  I can honestly say that I have met people who love what they do, they are enthusiastic, and they believe that the organisation’s mission is their mission.   These are the people we would all love to have worked with us.

I have also met people who detest what they do.  They don’t buy into the company values; they don’t respect what the company does.  But they come to work because it’s a job; they need to feed their kids.  You can usually spot these people in your team.  They can’t help their attitude.  While this is a problem, it’s an easily identifiable problem, and you can do something about it.

If you don’t know what your employees think about your organisation, ask them.  Don’t make assumptions.   Just because you think your ideas are the best thing since Edison invented the lightbulb, doesn’t mean your employees share that thought. If they don’t think much about your business, then you have work to doing order to build your reputation with your employees first.

Neutral employees

But what about the people who are in the middle?   They quite like their job, and they are rubbing along quite well.  They aren’t too bothered about what you do, it pays well, and as far as their responsibilities go, they do what they have to do.  Are you content with the messages they are giving?  If your employees are pretty neutral about the work they do, then it will come as no surprise that those who should be the biggest resource in building your reputation are not talking about your business in the way you would like.

Your employees are one of your biggest advertisements.  What they think to say and do is representative of your organisation.  Your business is the total of all of your employees, like it or not.

What will make your employees brand ambassadors?

As well as asking what your employees think, you need to build a culture where your employees feel cared about.   Everyone is different and this means different things to different people.  Your culture and your company policies need to reflect all needs.  Here are some principles you might want to incorporate when considering your culture and policies.

  • Make sure the ratio of reward across the business bridges any equality gap.   If you or your Directors are taking home millions every year and your workers are on minimum wage, then you are not valuing their contribution.
  • Work hard on employee experience.  If you inadvertently make people feel bad, judged or not accepted then you have work to do.
  • Create a culture of fun, the ability to speak up and celebrate their value through every story or narrative you circulate.
  • Understand they have whole lives, not just work lives.  Life is tough, give them a break.
  • Practice unity consciousness and understand that your business is only as strong as your weakest employee.
  • Be kind, and care about them.  Make sure they know you do.

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I help leaders develop self- mastery, helping them to become confident in their own inner guidance.

I collaborate with leadership experts, managers and HR professionals to help them get their own message and unique services and products to a wide audience.