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As you reopen: Be prepared to re-calibrate and recharge your employees.
Depending on your Covid-19 experience, you may have to work hard to re-establish trust with employees.
Creating excitement about your brand and your organization is vital, and the need to engage your employees with fresh communication is key. Understanding that your employee’s needs have changed is also key. Covid-19 has changed everything. As employees go back to work, your employee experience is just as important as your customer experience in order to overcome hurdles.
The definition of employee experience is the sum of all experiences an employee has throughout their time with your organization – and in all times it should be intentionally managed, but in a crisis, it becomes critical to success.
A recent Gallup survey stated that 52% of U.S. employees say their employer has communicated a clear plan of action in response to Covid-19. Only 54% strongly agree that their immediate supervisor keeps them informed about what is going on in the organization as it relates to the impact of the pandemic. Employee engagement, communication and transparency must increase!
Here are strategies for using your brand to inspire and engage your employees:
Your brand should embody your company’s overarching purpose
Use your mission to help employees garner meaning from their work. This is history and legacy time — why did you start the business and what is the vision? What would the city/community lose if your business ceased to exist? Your employees and partners need a strong motivation to put their best foot forward.
Ensure your employees understand how their individual work contributes to your overarching purpose
This should be constant in good and bad times already, but in a crisis, it is critical — especially if you have low morale from furloughs or having to lay off any part of your workforce. This is one of the most powerful and tangible ways you can create strength in your brand and increase loyalty
Connect employees to your customers
Your brand is about the value and experience you deliver to the consumer and that should always be the brand filter used by everyone.
- Share stories about how your company or business serves customers amidst the crisis.
- Share feedback from customers about how well the business is still doing or what they love about your brand – this inspires and keeps what is important in the forefront of their minds.
- Share stories about specific customers — this will help employees to emotionally invest in that human connection.
- Enable employees to share the stories and encourage each other — keep them connected and foster employee engagement. This will help them to naturally work as a team and reinforce brand values as they go back to work and share your business story with the community
- If your business has had any experiences that resembled getting through tough times — remind them.
- Collect favorite stories about the brand — good times, fun moments, inside humor only they would understand.
- If you are an owner, in management or the C-Suite and have not adapted to using video, social media or even Zoom to check-in, you have missed a huge opportunity. Eighty-two percent of consumers say they are more likely to trust a brand when the CEO and senior leadership is active and engaged on social media. What does that mean? Your employees need to see and hear you — it humanizes you and allows them to be empathetic and connected.
If you don’t have core brand values or a brand filter that you use in training — it is time to start. Without a brand filter that is communicated to everyone, it is hard to consistently message anything to your employees. Brand drives everything. This is the time to recalibrate even foundational principles from core values to mission, vision and most importantly, your why.