Do your employees enjoy working for you? Are they publicly enthusiastic about being a part of your company? Are they telling their friends and family about the benefits of your services and/or products?
Employees are your brand
Did you answer yes to the first question above; did you hesitate at the second two? Often we believe our employees are happy and engaged in their work, but if we scratch the surface, we learn that they are not the advocates we thought they were.
If an employee is truly engaged in your workplace, they are significantly more likely to talk about it to their networks in a positive light. Unfortunately, if employees are unhappy or disengaged, the same applies, and whatever perspective your employees share influences your organization’s brand.
The psychological contract
There are many factors that are legally necessary to implement for your employees: fair pay, fair time off, medical benefits, etc., but there is also a host of other factors that employees may expect from you to make their workplace experience a positive one. As their employer, you are also likely to have similar expectations of your employees.
For employees, this could be training and development opportunities or the promise of a promotion. For you as the employer, this could be an expectation that your employees will stay late if there is a project deadline. There are many elements that could fall into the unwritten rules between employer and employee, but all of them facilitate relationships built on respect, compassion, trust, empathy, fairness, and objectivity.
These factors are not necessarily made explicit, but both employer and employee implicitly expect them to occur and, if they are not forthcoming, the trust, effort, and advocacy of both parties begin to wane. These unwritten benefits are known as the psychological contract.
Creating mutually beneficial relationships outside of the written employment contract can help to ensure relationships flourish and result in employees who go the extra mile and are advocates of your brand rather than critics.
The increase in employee clout
Careers have changed. In the past, people stayed in one organization for much of their career, now millennials move from company to company learning new skills and gaining new experiences as they go. Their varied work lives give them a wider frame of reference for what makes a positive workplace and provide them with a wider network with which to share their experiences. Also, with the increased use of social media platforms, your employees can easily share their experiences of your organization even more widely with social networks.
Creating a positive employee experience is more important than ever.
Workplace relationships need to be treated like any other. They cannot be based only on written expectations; they must be nurtured and understood if they are to be successful.
Consider your employees outside of their traditional contracts and understand what motivates and drives them to succeed for your organization. If you do, they will hold your organization in a more positive regard and will be more likely to return the favor while singing your praises to whomever will listen.