In this blog, we will discuss ways to create, improve and foster employee awareness and brand identity so your brand has a culture of tightly knit, synchronized members. (7-minute read)
- Why is awareness and identity critical to your business?
- How can you improve the awareness of your employees and create a sense of identity for them within your company culture?
- Why is it important to have both awareness and identity in your company culture?
- What happens when these two elements are missing from a company culture?
- How can you implement activities that will improve both awareness and identity in your workplace?
At Riverbend, we know that it is important for every employee to be aware of and connect with our brand. Therefore, we start sharing aspects of our brand before employees are even hired. From introductory conversations and throughout the interview process, we are highlighting the elements of our brand and company culture. We talk through our purpose and our core values, and we show how those elements form our brand and our place in the market. We keep it alive in every team meeting and interaction with each other. We truly believe this makes a huge difference for every employee.
We know and recognize that an employee’s awareness of a company’s brand and culture as well as their ability to develop an identity within the company are important aspects for any company, big or small. Your brand is the identity and awareness of your business, and it gives you personality and meaning – something to believe in. If a strong sense of awareness and identity are omnipresent with your team, it serves to align and guide everyone in a common direction. In essence, it becomes your brand and company NorthStar, sense of purpose, and social culture.
Why are awareness and identity critical to your business?
Awareness among employees allows them to understand the company’s purpose and what makes it different from its competitors. When employees buy into a company’s overall vision, they too become a part of the mission and purpose the company stands for.
Compared to awareness, an employee’s identity is a more emotional connection. It defines the individual as a whole and what they want to strive for at work. Employees who see themselves as part of their company will have greater democracy in wanting to do their best work. When employees buy into the brand of their company, it makes them feel that their participation and commitment matter and most importantly feel seen and heard by management and peers alike.
Employees are an organization’s greatest resource. They are the ones who have direct contact with customers, are front-line ambassadors of the brand, and ultimately execute on company goals, so it is critical to creating a culture where employees feel valued. The more engaged an employee feels the more purposefully they engage. That’s a win-win for everyone.
How can you improve the awareness of your employees and create a sense of identity for them within your company culture?
Focus on the basics
Start with communication and feedback. Instead of sending out an Employee Handbook at the beginning of employment, send out a welcome email to introduce your company culture. Start by describing common goals for the organization, then provide information about how employees can go about achieving them.
Consider hiring an outside consultant or coach that aligns with your core values. They can create a company mission statement, vision, and values exercise to foster teamwork.
Finally, make sure you are training your managers with effective leadership skills that will help them gain buy-in from their employees. You could have weekly manager meetings where they discuss what worked this week in getting their employees to achieve their goals and what didn’t. This will help managers see how to improve their communication with their employees and solve any problems that may arise.
Facilitate Group Discussions
The more a group of people discusses a topic, the more they learn about it. Start engaging employees by asking them questions and inviting them to open-ended discussions to give everyone a chance to express themselves within the corporate culture.
If you have an online resource for your employees, add a forum section where staff can ask each other questions and get transparent and succinct answers to common questions.
Create Brand Culture Playbook
Creating a culture book is a manageable approach for companies that have less than 100 employees. The main body of this document will be the vision, mission, and values statement(s) you already have in place. Supplement these by adding information about your company’s history, current initiatives, major projects, current moral issues, future plans to acquire new clients, growth objectives, and more. The more insider information you can share with your team, the more likely they are to subscribe to your core philosophies, and more importantly it will filter out individuals that are not in alignment.
Niche Down on What Really Matters
Be very clear and concise on some easy-to-align principles, like team meeting expectations for example, or how do we answer phones and the ethos we impart on the caller – anything that as a group you can all get agreement on. Then empower your team to be proactive and take ownership of their actions.
Build a strong environment that makes people feel comfortable in what they are doing while encouraging them to ask questions if they need clarity on anything. And always, no matter what the issue is – be consistent with how you treat each member of your team.
Your Values Become Your Deliverables
If you have clear values, then every action your people take should be aligned to these. If they are not, then you need to work on what is important for your people. What delivery of the value means for them and their role in the team.
Don’t wait until there are problems before training or coaching on what’s expected of your team. Be proactive and discuss this upfront. When your team is clear on your brand values, they can become clear on their awareness around them and where they fit in.
Foster an Identity
One of the most important elements to increase awareness in your team is to foster an identity. You can do this by giving them an icon or design that represents the values they stand for when carrying out their duties/projects etc.
Why is it important to have both awareness and identity in your company culture?
Having both awareness and identity in your company culture allows employees to know what’s expected of them, grow with the company so it’s easier for them to adopt your values, and feel respected for their individuality. Remember, in the end, it’s about creating a company culture. Begin by organizing a tightly knit group, and then focus on getting everyone synced up – that’s how you develop a brand and an identity.
What happens when these two elements are missing from a company culture?
When you have a company culture where employees are not aware of what’s expected of them or who they are, it creates an atmosphere where everyone is working independently and doing their own thing. The problem with this is that collaboration will become limited if personal opinions always outweigh teamwork. It also makes it harder for the company to have one voice, which adds to consumer confusion. If your team lacks identity and awareness, then your buyer will receive mixed messaging.
Like anything with groups, there are multiple considerations before just blindly implementing activities that promote awareness and identity. It is important to use activities that will lead to positive identification. Below we have listed a few ways you can implement activities that will promote awareness and identity.
- Share what your team’s vision and mission statements are. Employees should be aware of the bigger picture and how they can contribute to it.
- Use a company call-in line where employees can leave a voicemail to ask questions and give feedback. Make sure the messages are both monitored and addressed as needed.
- Remind employees of your brand and vision by creating posters around the office that utilize distributed leadership principles.
- Offer development programs and rotational job opportunities to keep employees engaged and exposed to diverse aspects of the business.
- Use your company intranet and email system to augment what is communicated in-person (and vice versa).
- Posting announcements, updating statuses on social media pages, etc., can help people to become aware of events happening at their workplace.
In order for employees to be motivated and engaged, they need a sense of awareness and identity. Awareness means understanding the company’s mission, vision, values, goals, and how each affects them in their role with the organization. Identity is about having a sense of belonging at work that is based on shared beliefs or experiences. When these two elements are lacking in an organizational culture it can lead to disengagement among staff members which will have negative impacts on your business including decreased productivity levels and increased turnover rates. You can implement activities that improve both awareness and identity by taking advantage of every opportunity you get to educate team members about what makes your company different.