People wouldn’t care if 77% of brands disappeared!*
A startling statistic, but one Havas Group has been exploring for close to the past decade. Through a proprietary study, we’ve measured the quality of benefits brands bring into people’s lives – and given the statistic above, many brands are still coming up short in the value exchange with their audiences. They’re missing the opportunity to add meaning to the experience.
And we’ve found that there are three key areas brands should focus on to address that gap in the value exchange: deliver the products and services they say they’re going to deliver, improve people’s lives and play an active role in the communities they touch. Only brands that create meaningful connections with people will prosper.
One of the major elements a modern consumer expects from a brand is tailored content that’s specific to their wants/needs/hopes/dream/fears – the whole range of human emotion.
Great content is an enabler for building meaningful connections and adding meaning to an experience. In today’s world, people expect brands to provide content that inspires, entertains, educates, informs and helps them.
So, what does this have to do with employees and their experience?
It’s time to stop focusing on the world of employment as a siloed experience – a compartmentalized aspect of someone’s day-to-day. Companies are now seeking to create value for their employees – beyond the traditional means. Just as people are expecting brands to provide meaning and value in their lives as consumers – they’re expecting the same, if not more from their place of employment.
They want something more than a job. They want to be understood as an individual. They want personalization. They want interactions to matter. And they want employers to live up to the purpose and culture that’s been promised on career websites, in job descriptions and in interviews.
In short – they want us to value their experience as employees as much as we value their experiences as consumers.
The good news is if we can deliver on those promises and provide an engaging, meaningful experience we’ll be able to cultivate an environment of trust and engagement. A huge benefit to us all because when employees are engaged, they are 39%* more likely to become an advocate for the organization and 38%* more likely to remain loyal to their company. What’s more, inspired employees are two times more productive than just satisfied employees.
So how do we get there? At Havas People, we specialize in building meaningful employee experiences and believe employee experiences should be designed as thoughtfully as customer experiences. When we approach our communication strategies, we look at it as an infinity loop. Candidate and employee experiences should not be looked at as separate actions, but instead holistically to ensure meaning is being built into every single touchpoint. This means using data and research to provide a meaningful recruitment process, onboarding process, and even offboarding process. And building programs to keep employees engaged while they are at your organization.
It’s translating the principles we’ve used so successfully in the consumer world to employment. Take onboarding for example, typically a one-size fits all, templated, tick the box exercise.
But we’re all different and have different experiences and expectations. We carry different histories and have different needs when starting a new job. The level of information, training, support needed all varies.
Now think of buying a brand-new piece of tech. Your level of comfort ability to naturally use it, understanding of the potential will vary compared to your neighbors. Does the company selling you that product treat you as an individual and do their best to tailor their content and guidance on your behalf? Or do they just leave it to you to figure things out on your own? Do they give you really generic advice that’s not applicable? If they did the latter, would you consider buying something from that company in the future?
That’s the essence of adding meaning to your employees’ lives. It’s combining employee and customer experience principles to better understand what matters most to your people. And using that information to identify pain and gain points for the journey you’ll take them on in your organization so you can be sure you’re adding meaning where and when it matters most to them.
Source: Meaningful Brands powered by Havas
Source: The Edelman Trust Barometer 2019
On Thursday, June 6th I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the Wellbeing @ Work event in New York. It was an eye-opening day filled with exceptional speakers and interesting perspectives on wellbeing were shared.
Havas was invited to talk about Meaning in the Age of the Employee and how the consumerization of the employee experience is intrinsically linked to your people’s overall wellbeing.
Stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll highlight some of our top-level thinking around that subject with some key thought starters worth mulling over!
Today, I want to share a few thoughts from the day that I keep coming back to. Things that were mentioned across a few of the different speakers’ topics that I believe are fundamental to employees feeling ‘their whole self’ at work and for employers to concentrate on when looking to build an environment where their employees’ wellness is a priority.
Homogenization isn’t just about looks.
As keynote speakers go, we were extremely fortunate to have Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia kick off the day. Claude shared personal anecdotes about her journey with VaynerMedia and the steps she took to forge a career that matched her principles and allowed her to lead and build in the way she wants.
A lot of great content and advice was shared, but I keep coming back to Claude’s point about a homogenized workforce. It’s natural for a company that was founded by a few friends to grow and employ friends of those friends – then friends of those friends, but as growth increases that friend network can become very harmful to company culture, morale, and ability to innovate.
Now, if we park the inevitability that these employees will all most likely resemble one another and look at some other issues of ‘going with who you know’ we can see that all of a sudden you have a workforce that has a relatively similar profile. They have all the same reference points, they approach opportunities and problems in the same manner, and probably view the purpose, meaning and value of work in a pretty uniform way.
For a current employee, is this environment going to give them the confidence or freedom to shake things up and try something new – to be who they are, not just another version of everyone else? For a candidate, are they going to feel like they can add anything to your company, or that they’ll need to compartmentalize elements of who they are to fit in?
Essentially, it’s another way to look at the move from hiring for cultural fit to cultural add, but I would say we need to go a step further and begin to start hiring for cultural miss. What types of people are you missing in your culture, what types of skills, approaches, ways of working and thinking will unlock your people’s potential further? Every new hire is an opportunity to add a little bit of a change agent to the mix to keep pushing your culture further.
Rethinking indicative proof points for future performance.
I’ll preface this by saying, I’m not sure how many of us are ready to ditch degree requirements from our job roles, but when Annette Alexander of WP Engine and Ann W. Marr of World Wide Technology spoke in their session about removing degree requirements from a large chunk of their jobs, it made me wish that we could!
This is something that’s been on my mind for quite a while. I’ve been talking with friends and colleagues and asking them if they could do it all over would they have gone to their alma maters and studied the same subjects, gone elsewhere to learn something else, or even skipped school and just gone into the workforce sooner. Very unscientific, but these conversations have been interesting. Very few people would have taken the same path they did. Most would have gone to different schools to study different topics, but a few (like me) would have been happy to just get right into the working world.
When I was looking for a job in advertising, the thought of getting an opportunity anywhere without a degree or some internship experience was crazy to me. But in the (relatively) short time I have had a career the whole landscape of advertising/media/content has shifted. Some high-school aged students have a better grasp on branding and forging meaningful connections with people than folks who’ve spent their lives doing that work.
And this is something we’re seeing across industries. There is this massive pool of self-starters out there who are being ushered into a 2-4 year holding pattern before corporations deem them worthy of contributing. This seems like a huge waste to me. Capturing their passion for work, for creating things, for building communities bigger than themselves shouldn’t be put on hold.
Every aspect of the working world is transforming today and will transform again completely in the next decade or so. If how we evaluate people, identify who can contribute, or even where we look for the next big hire doesn’t completely change too – we’re going to be training and hiring people to enter a workforce that no longer exists!
Walking the floor matters so much
Interestingly, this point was mentioned by a handful of speakers at the Wellbeing event – and it’s something I’ve certainly heard at other events and from some of my mentors over the years. Yet, it’s so important when creating a meaningful environment where your employees can feel healthy that it’s always worth mentioning again and clarifying what this is and what it should not be. As a leader, a colleague, a new joiner, or even someone who thinks they are the lowest rung on the ladder ‘walking the floor’ is one of the greatest things you can do. It’s about stepping outside of your work for a moment and appreciating your environment, your coworkers, and your place. It’s a moment to build camaraderie, to check in on a human level, and to celebrate, commiserate and experience all the wonderful emotions that come with being a human being!
It has nothing to do with making sure people are working, are at their desks, are getting their job done. We have other ways to measure and observe that. “Walking the floor” is the opportunity to foster community, to humanize yourself and your teams. To check in and show you care – and maybe get a little care back in return. It’s building that connection between others and yourself. A chance for everyone to show they’re not just automatons working away, but that we’re all people looking for a little extra love in a crazy world.
And this just isn’t about the people you are in the same physical location as. ‘Walking the floor’ with your remote workers is just as, if not more, important. Are you checking in with them in the same way? Are they able to virtually ‘walk the floor’ If needed in other locations or departments?
It only takes a few minutes to check-in with someone and wish them well – to show them you appreciate them. It’ll take much longer to invoke that appreciation if all you’re ever doing is asking them for work or work-related updates.
Agency Director, Havas People USA