Every employer wants to have a highly satisfied and happy workforce. It’s as integral to running a business as your mission, accounting practices, or company hours. Without satisfied employees, you’ll struggle to meet your bottom line, keep customers coming back, and earn recognition from industry experts. How your workforce feels equates to the image you project just as much as your ad campaigns.
So, how do you create a happy company?
Employee engagement goes beyond happiness. It’s the emotional commitment an employee has to an organization and its goals. Involvement in the workplace often follows leadership, which means that if leaders are in sync with your goals, there is a higher likelihood that employees will share in the sentiment. However, leaders aren’t the only ones who set the internal tone of a company. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the practice where companies take responsibility for the impact of their activities on their employees, customers, and the community at large. Companies such as Toshiba and Starbucks are known for possessing a keen sense of social responsibility, community welfare, and sustainability.
When you have a higher level of engagement, your business and staff will reap the benefits. An engaged workforce comes with advantages, such as improved employee retention, increased productivity and healthy workplace morale. All of this engagement can easily transfer over to other company functions, like marketing.
Have you ever been perusing Facebook and found inspiring images of friends who participated in a company benefit or other fundraiser? Or, maybe you saw pictures of a friend who boasts about having casual Fridays, pets in the workplace, or annual company outings that go beyond a potluck. How did those images make you feel?
For most of us, seeing other people thriving at work makes us curious about how we can support the mission or join the team. This is where the real magic happens for business owners. You’re essentially getting free marketing from your best sources: your employees. Let’s look at a few companies who’ve mastered employee-driven social media engagement and community building.
Patagonia’s mission is simple: “We’re in business to save our home planet.” Their corporate responsibility policy promises to produce products in fair, legal, and safe working conditions throughout the supply chain. They collaborate with suppliers to get high-quality materials that keep the environment and society at their core. Patagonia works to protect migrant workers around the globe from exploitation and human trafficking.
But, what about in the States? The California-based company has a culture that might not fit with traditional corporate American norms. The company allows workers to set their own hours and doesn’t reward those who work excessively. In fact, the doors are locked with everyone out by 8 pm through the week and all weekend. But, it isn’t just after hours that Patagonia breaks the corporate mold; many employees can be found in wetsuits catching the perfect wave or riding bikes during the traditional workday. The outdoor company gets much in return for these non-traditional work rules. In 2013, Patagonia earned $600 million. As they continue to expand their global footprint, Patagonia enjoys loyal employees and low turnover rates.
The Boise Bicycle Project (BBP) knows a thing or two about community building. This non-profit cooperative fulfills its mission of promoting the personal, environmental, and social benefits of bicycling while bettering the lives of staff and consumers. BBP doesn’t just love bicycles, they invest in their community and want to make Boise the cycling capital of America. Through increased access to bikes for young and old alike, and the promotion of community through events and classes, BBP lives their mission, vision, and values.
BBP also understands the impact that fitness hobbies such as bicycling can have on overall health and wellness. Cycling offers an ecologically-responsible way to increase movement, control weight, and decrease the risk of long-term disease. Not only do they believe that a bicycle can help your physical health, but they also think that bicycling and bicycle repair can build confidence. Some people might find working with bicycles intimidating. However, at BBP everyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, or any other boundary, can thrive mentally and physically by enjoying a bike.
Do you listen to music? This might seem like a silly question – I mean, who doesn’t stream music in the office, the car, or even when jogging. But, is it just music, or is it a listening experience backed by scientific data?
At Pandora, they take music and listening to a whole new level. By combining musicology, artificial intelligence, and computer science, experts use big data to create a personalized listening experience each time someone streams. The Music Genome Project that powers Pandora analyzes a person’s unique relationship with music to develop an individualized blend that meets a person in their comfort zone while introducing new music that they believe will resonate with the user’s preferences.
The employee experience at Pandora culminates in the idea of giving back. Employees work to change the music experience of consumers, which can impact their mood, life, and emotional health. Pandora is the largest streaming music provider in the U.S, connecting more than 70 million users each month. This is community building at its best.
Leaders create employee engagement. They must operate from a place of integrity, compassion, and connection with employees and consumers alike. By synchronizing your mission, with your global policies within the confines of your workforce, you’re sure to see employee engagement rise. Once your employees invest, community building can flourish throughout your company, improving your brand image.