Employee Brand Promises from a Generational Perspective

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Employee Brand Promises: What’s the Point?

Most organizations have a customer or stakeholder brand promise. This is the promise you make externally regarding what experience customers or stakeholders will have when interacting with your organization. It requires a lot of resources (marketing, training, internal communication) to ensure that employees understand your brand promise and know how to execute on it externally.

In n-gen’s Generational Advisory Council poll, 83% of Gen Ys felt that they knew how to demonstrate their organization’s customer brand promise. Interestingly, the results for Gen Xers and Baby Boomers were significantly less: 33% of Gen Xers and 56% of Baby Boomers said that they agreed with the statement “Employees at my workplace understand their role in demonstrating the external brand to customers.”

In contrast, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers agreed more (88% and 78% respectively) that they knew their organization’s mission. This data may imply that we do a better job in educating the newest entrants in the workplace on execution of our brand than we do with the experienced generations because, typically, Gen Ys are in more customer facing roles. However, with the older generations, we focus more on the broader scope of our organization’s mission, and remind them of how their role plays a significant part in delivering on the customer brand promise. Regardless of the role, all employees should be able to state the link between their role and your external brand promise delivery.

So What’s the Problem?

Organizations cannot be successful in delivering on their external brand unless they are also strong in delivering on the internal employee brand promise. We define an employee brand promise as the combination of your corporate values, plus your total rewards program.

While employees might be able to state the values and the features of your reward package when asked directly, they may not realise that this is your promise to them. Only 66% of Gen Ys, 50% of Gen Xers and 56% of Baby Boomers agreed that their organizations have articulated their employee brand promise. Because organizations are often poor at articulating their promise to employees, a gap exists between organizational intention and employee perceptions.

This leaves room for doubt as to whether or not an employee believes he or she is experiencing the promises you have made. At an organizational level, we need to ensure that every employee understands what your promise is – what he or she can and cannot expect by working at your organization. Secondly, organizations should be able to execute on that promise consistently and constantly, by properly training all leaders on what leadership behaviours are required. As well, it’s important to remind employees on an on-going basis, through targeted communications, how your promise is being delivered and why.

Employee Brand Promises from a Generational Perspective

From a generational perspective, it is important to recognize and evaluate what elements of your total rewards program will appeal most to the different generations in your workplace. Your total rewards offering should be broad enough to tap into the engagement drivers of each generation.

Creating, articulating and executing an employee brand promise is not a simple task. In some organizations, it is owned by marketing, in others by HR. Ideally it is a collaborative effort. However, in successful organizations, the gap between what employees think the promise is, and the experience of that promise, is minimized. Having a clearly articulated and executed employee brand promise benefits all areas of the employee life-cycle: how you get, keep and grow all four generations. In addition, you cannot effectively deliver on your customer / stakeholder promise if you don’t execute your promise to employees first.

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