Love Your Brand Ambassadors and They Will Love You Back3 min read.
Loyal and enthusiastic brand ambassadors among your employees can be a company's greatest asset in authentically promoting a positive vision of the organization. But whatever you do, don't take them for granted...
We all know what an employer brand ambassador is. But, just so that we are all on the same page, here’s a broad description.
An employer brand ambassador is an employee that is fully committed to their work and the work of the organization. An active promoter of the company as a place to work, someone who encourages a positive culture among their peers and inspires them to do their best. A person that lives by the corporate values and recommends their employer to others.
In a nutshell, brand ambassadors are the people who represent an organization or company in a positive way and, in doing so, help increase awareness and perception of it.
Brand ambassadors are vital for a company’s employer brand. It is why so many employer brand leaders are launching and managing brand ambassadors programs: to encourage these wonderful, committed employees to drive positive conversations about their companies as places to work.
The word of an employee will always be much more credible than what a company says about itself. And when a colleague is “in love” with the company, it shows. So potential candidates will relate.
Now, the higher they are, the harder they fall. You might think that disappointing a highly engaged employee would not be that serious because they are happy with the company and they will not feel the hit that hard. Well… that’s not how it works.
Employee Engagement is a Feeling
Think of it like this. You live near a grocery store that you like. You go there every day to buy milk. The milk is really good and the price is fair. But on one occasion, after you buy the milk, you go back home, open it, and it has a funny smell. So you go back to the store and say, “hey, this milk is rotten, I need a new one please”. The answer is “I apologize, here’s another milk for you”. All good.
But then it happens again. And again. And there are no more apologies. The salesman says: “all the milks are the same, we can’t give you a different one”. So, what do you do? You change the place where you buy the milk. And life goes on. No hard feelings, no harm done, you just go to a different store and the problem is solved. And forgotten.
What happens, however, if this type of disappointment comes from someone you know and care about deeply? Would you move on so fast and easy if you caught your significant other lying, or cheating on you? Probably not.
The difference is that you do not have any feelings or emotions for the grocery store, or even the salesman. But you have feelings for your partner. You care about them. You idealize them. You love them. You told everyone what a wonderful relationship you had and how glad you were with them. And now it’s all gone. You will inevitably feel betrayed, sad, angry, frustrated, furious even.
The same thing will happen with extra engaged employees. Engagement is a feeling and should be treated as such.
Brand Ambassadors Can Become Brand Critics
As James Ellis in his #132 Employer Branding Headlines said: “Being engaged is a function of how you feel. Which means that engagement is an emotion. Or at the very least, an emotional state. You feel engaged because you feel heard, you are working on things that matter to you, you feel a sense of agency, and value how you are working, you know that your work is valued by others, etc.
When feelings are hurt, people will feel betrayed. In life, in love, and at work. And people, when hurt at work, are not in the best place to be cold-minded, efficient employees that won’t complain and will keep on spreading happiness and positive thoughts about their jobs. In fact, it’s the opposite. The word-of-mouth will become negative and you can forget about counting on them as brand ambassadors.
They will become detractors of your employer brand. And it doesn’t matter how beautiful your careers website is and how wonderfully written your job offers and social media posts are - your talent audience will always believe, and empathize more with your employees. This could lead to a reputation crisis faster than you think.
Your employees are the real reflection of your employer brand. And your talent audiences know it.
So, when it comes to your most engaged employees and brand ambassadors, it is not a matter of assuming that everything will be okay forever and they will always be active promoters of your employer brand. Not at all. Their level of engagement and happiness inside an organization should be carefully monitored, very frequently. The dangers of overlooking this are huge: brand ambassadors have both the potential of raising your employer brand, or to destroy it. And when it comes to emotions, let’s remember that it needs to be seen as an emotional problem. Emotional problems won’t be solved with salary increases or bonuses. James Ellis has a wonderful idea for this:
“Stop touting how much you care. Stop trying to buy happiness. Stop trying to strategize other people’s emotions (as a twice-divorced person, I can assure you it will not work).
“Instead, tap into your own emotions. I’m not talking about showing that you care, but actually care. Care about them as people. Care about what they want out of work. Actually want your people to succeed. Create safe spaces to allow others to show their own. Not for the sake of “hugging it out,” but to allow people to connect with their why and show it off.
How to Keep Your Brand Ambassadors in Love with Your Organisation
- Connect with your brand ambassadors. Have regular scheduled meetings with them to understand their concerns, struggles, expectations and wishes. They can be an amazing source of qualitative information about how your people are feeling at work. Hear them out frequently, address their concerns seriously, and they will feel (even more) involved and heard.
- Make them feel like they are part of an exclusive group. Generate gatherings, trainings and activities that are designed only for them. Customized giveaways are cool, too.
- Don’t overlook their career paths. We all know that professional growth is one of the most important elements from a working experience. And brand ambassadors need that recognition to stay motivated. So don’t forget to work with them on their career paths, setting clear goals and requirements for them to reach their next level on their careers.
- Also, give proper and timely feedback. If there is anything they can do to improve, they should know. Good brand ambassadors will embrace every opportunity they have to become the best versions of themselves. So, kind, thoughtful and recurrent feedback will be much appreciated and will keep them excited about their next steps at the company.