September 12, 2023

Broken to Better: Unlock Company Culture & Create Brand Champions

During my professional journey, I was often considered just another replaceable piece of the corporate machine. Despite outperforming my peers and driving new business, my yearly reviews rarely reflected my dedication. I was just another cog. And so, when the time was right, I moved on. 

Perhaps you’ve felt the same. If you have, you know why ensuring your team feels cared for and cared about is essential. You want to pay well and give appropriate raises, but it’s also about engagement. 

This vision is anchored in three pillars: cultivating a strong company culture, promoting a sense of belonging and appreciation, and continually seeking improvement.

Remember these things when building your employee experience and brand champions out of your employees.

1. Cultivate a strong company culture by embodying your core values

The bedrock of any thriving organization is its culture. It’s more than just assembling a team; you need to create an environment where they feel seen, heard, and valued. 

That was my vision when founding Branded Group. Before the company expanded, even before hiring the first member, I laid down its core values. Why? Because without them, employees drift, unsure of their direction and purpose. They need to connect with the company’s mission to give their best.

One of our core values at Branded Group is “Be Altruistic.” This is at the heart of our organization. We give back—we want to make a difference and change lives. Since giving back is a part of our culture, we ask about it in candidate interviews. It helps us find people who aren’t just the right fit for the job but for our team.

2. Engage employees and build a culture of retention

You know how the proverbial “they” say that it costs more to keep an old customer than acquire a new one? The same goes for your employees.

It makes sense. Just think about how much time you spend developing job descriptions, reviewing resumes, interviewing people, onboarding a new hire, etc. You spend so much time hiring and training new people, and that opportunity cost adds up. That’s not even considering what’s not getting done when a position isn’t filled. 

Also, think about it from your clients’ perspectives. They like to work with people they know and trust, and their experience is damaged by high employee turnover.

Engaging employees isn’t about grand gestures. It’s about consistency. Invest in your team, continue working with them to improve their skills, and listen to their concerns to help find a solution.

One thing we love to do at Branded Group is use assessments like the Clifton StrengthsFinder®. If one of our employees struggles in their current role or isn’t feeling fulfilled, we’ll offer this and see if there’s a better fit. They’ll be happy, engaged, and feel like they’re getting a fresh start. When you care about the whole employee, you create a loyal brand champion.

3. Ask for feedback—then act on it

Evolution is the hallmark of success. That’s why it’s vital to keep the communication channels open, to actively seek feedback, and, more importantly, act on it. Digital transformation has turned the traditional suggestion box into online surveys, giving leaders invaluable insights.

But here’s the catch: Feedback is a double-edged sword. While it can guide, it can backfire if not handled transparently. For example, if you’re already offering the best benefits package you can afford, don’t ask how you can improve the benefits package. Employees will notice if their feedback isn’t addressed in a timely manner.

At Branded Group, we share all feedback, the good and the uncomfortable. Because that’s what our value “Be Honest” means in practice. And when suggestions become actions, it sends a powerful message—their voice matters.

As your business grows and evolves, you’ll need to reassess your practices. What might have worked during the inception might falter in the fifth year. You have to be able to take feedback and course correct as you go.

It’s what Be Better leaders do.

Good leaders don’t just command; they inspire. They nurture brand champions, individuals who resonate with the company’s mission. When genuinely invested, leaders breathe life into the company’s vision, making it tangible. And that’s what separates the ordinary from the exceptional.

My mission with Branded Group was to create an environment where everyone felt integral to our shared journey, where the company’s vision wasn’t a top-down decree but a collective aspiration. Remember, employees aren’t just cogs in a machine. They’re the lifeblood of your business and the force propelling it forward.

Need some guidance to start and grow your business? Check out my consulting services and learn how to Be Better.

This piece is based on a chapter of Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership. The book is dedicated to business leaders who are seeking to Be Better in their company for their employees, clients and communities. Download/purchase the full book, here.

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