According to Ceridian’s 2014 “Pulse of Talent” survey, only 30% of employees in Canada feel that their employers do a great job of recognizing their work and effort. Employees who feel valued and connect with the brands they work for are more productive, are more passionate, and build better relationships with other employees and clients. People like this are essential to building a great brand culture and a successful business.
Engaged, enthusiastic employees are essential for success, yet maintaining a positive brand culture is often ignored. Here at Habit, we’re always trying to improve our brand culture. We thought we’d share some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way.
1. Talk to each other.
Talk to your employees often. Supervisors should sit down with individual employees on a regular basis to make sure they feel supported, challenged, and inspired. If you work in teams, make sure those teams also get together on a regular basis to evaluate their successes and set goals. Teams that communicate often can rely on one another and feel supported in their efforts.
Our creatives recently started meeting as a team to set weekly goals and talk about our concerns. Being open and honest about how we were doing enabled us to set realistic goals and create meaningful change in our workflow. If someone needs help or feels overwhelmed, they can mention it at our weekly check-in so other members of our team can jump in and help out.
2. Evaluate your core purpose.
Your company started for one reason: to accomplish something specific. Brands and companies evolve, so it’s important to revisit your goals and achievements often. A clearly defined vision and set of values will attract people who share those same passions. By involving your employees in setting your brand’s direction and goals, they feel a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for helping achieve them.
Once a year, we get the Habit crew in a room together for a strategic planning session (which is actually a lot more fun than it sounds). We talk about why we come to work every day, where we want to take the company, and what we can do to reach that goal. Working together to set our goals means that we’re all committed to the same purpose. When we’re all working for the same goal, we get to our destination a lot faster.
3. Align employee goals with company goals.
Before we start a project, we go through a discovery process with our clients. We ask them questions about their business to learn what they’re most passionate about, what sets them apart from their competitors, and how we can help them achieve their goals. We should also take the time to find out what our employees want out of their careers. Ideally, we should find ways to help them achieve their career goals and align those with the company’s goals.
One of our recent initiatives was setting quarterly “rocks,” or goals set by each employee with support from their supervisor. This gave employees the chance to affect our business by improving internal processes, promoting the company, and finding new ways to help our clients. The initiative was very successful. Our employees now know that if they see an opportunity to change things, they have the power to do so.
4. Stay inspired.
It can be easy to get sucked into the daily grind. It’s nice to step back every now and then to find inspiration. Look into local networking events, seminars, and conferences happening in your area. Get everyone out of the office once in a while to relax and recharge. Relaxed people are productive people!
Our creative team attends local speaking events like Creative Mornings and ACE functions to soak up inspiration from prominent figures in the design community. Our Marketing team holds marketing mornings every Friday for knowledge base learning, and they have monthly one-on-ones focused on personal professional growth. We also set up team activities like monthly potluck lunches or canoe trips to get everyone away from their desks now and then.
5. Treat employees the way you treat customers.
After we finish a project, we like to meet with the client to find out what went well, what didn’t, and how we can improve next time. Think of the techniques you use to keep customers loyal and see how you can apply those same principles to earn the loyalty and respect of your employees. When employees feel valued and have a strong relationship with your company, they in turn learn how to truly wow customers and take pride in the work that they do.
At Habit, we aim to have employees meet with their team lead once a month to discuss how things are going. As a designer who started out with a background in marketing, I mentioned wanting to focus more on marketing research and strategy at one of my recent check-ins. After that discussion, I was given a larger strategic role for an exciting marketing project where we’re aiming to change the way people think about healthcare.
I’m proof that the tactics above really do work. I come to work every day excited to be part of a team where I feel like my skills and input are valued and make a difference. As I’ve grown and taken on new responsibilities with Habit, I’ve become more invested in our company and helping our clients succeed, both now and in the future. By investing in your brand culture, you can get your employees to feel the same way.