The announcements earlier this year from Yahoo! and Best Buy about ditching their telecommuting policies set off a national discussion about what it means to be engaged at work. Regardless of where you work, we believe employees must understand their employer's vision, mission, values and most importantly, purpose, before true engagement (read: presence, either physically or mentally) can occur.
"Purpose" is a topic we keenly focus on with our clients, because, simply put, brands achieve success when they know what they stand for. A brand without this deliberate intention will go nowhere; further, with no purpose, how can employees have direction and remain engaged? Events in recent weeks have shown us that companies in the midst of transformation will continue to grapple with the physical aspect of work - whether or not it's necessary to "be there" in order to fully contribute. Our position is that however a company attempts to tackle the internal transformation, the most important point is not the location of the change, but that it is based on a collective and authentic purpose.
How does purpose come to life?
Once you've articulated your brand's vision, mission, and values you can begin the process employee branding. Through employee branding, companies can create alignment enterprisewide on goals and roles, building enthusiasm and passion across the employee base in support of the company's purpose. This in turn strengthens the overarching brand and improves customer experience scores (and as an added bonus, the bottom line). All employees, from the stock room to the boardroom, play a key role in shaping your brand's reputation with every customer, partner, or vendor they touch. The secret to success is to get everyone functioning as a passionate brand ambassador, translating internal solidarity into more engaged consumers and ultimately deeper brand loyalty.
Target Corporation, for example, takes great care to nurture its "fast, fun, and friendly" culture - a way of being that permeates every nook and cranny of the organization. By using Target's employee branding tools, more than 350,000 team members worldwide experience what it means to live the Target brand from the minute they're recruited. Onboarding and training, team member communications and events, recognition programs, and advancement opportunities reinforce a culture that creates an exceptional work environment and team members who bring one of the world's most differentiated shopping experiences to life.
Are you in or are you out?
The discussion today about flexible work environments will certainly continue, but from where we sit, if you are sure your employees have a clear understanding of what they're doing and why - the question of "in" or "out" becomes less important. Impassioned employees will go the extra mile because they believe in the cause and can see a clear path towards success.