In most successful companies, there's a desire for employees to have a stake in the business. Execs and business owners strive to make sure that everyone who works there lives and breathes the brand, its mission and its core values.
Many companies don't realize this can be done through workplace branding, so that every day at the office helps build loyalty and morale.
A typical employee spends more waking hours in the office than they do anywhere else. Why not capitalize on that time and make the workplace an extension of the brand, giving employees a sense of pride in the things they're part of each day?
Having a brand that’s easily seen and understood by employees creates a strong sense of community.
It’s no different from the sports fan who wears his or her favorite team’s jersey. In fact, every time I'm in San Francisco, I see walking, branded billboards of the companies who give their employees (or should I say die-hard fans?) that sense of pride and ownership.
A branded workspace is a reminder that each employee is there to achieve a common goal. Everyone wants to help the company succeed and make sure it's an awesome place to work.
Inside the office, it should go beyond a t-shirt, corporate colors and catchy taglines, although these are great ways to reinforce the brand. A workplace brand is an investment in people and culture. If done right, it increases employee loyalty, boosts morale, inspires, motivates and builds an atmosphere that says “This is a great place to work.”
So how do you build a workplace brand? Start by making sure your brand aligns with your company’s core values.
For example, if a company believes in environmental consciousness as a shared value, the company also needs to ensure it’s not sending enormous amounts of waste to the landfill. It can sponsor an in-office recycling program or offer bicycle parking.
If a company believes in giving back, it can sponsor a 1-1-1 philanthropic program like Marc Benioff has called for.
There may not be a t-shirt to champion these core values, but they become part of the workplace brand and part of the day-to-day culture.
You can use tools you already have in the office, like digital displays, to emphasize your workplace brand. Take advantage of custom images – even video – to deliver important messaging that reinforces your brand and culture to your team.
Companies already spend enormous amounts of money establishing product brands that are easy to recognize and evoke feelings of value, quality and loyalty for the customer. Workplace branding builds on this and helps differentiate a company from the competition, for employees and visitors alike.
A strong brand pays off internally by boosting employee morale and motivation and even helping with talent recruiting and retention.
You still have to work at it – cultivating it by defining your distinctiveness and listening to your employees – but if you do right by your employees, your brand will become synonymous with your mission and core values.
Shaun Ritchie (@shaunjritchie on Twitter) is co-founder and CEO of EventBoard.