Most employees feel desperately disengaged from their work. How can your company enjoy marketing success with such low levels of employee engagement?
Corporate wellness consultant Naz Beheshti put it best. In her January 2019 Forbes piece, Beheshti points out that 66 percent of the workforce doesn’t show up to work with “passion, purpose, presence, and energy.”
Those very qualities—presence, purpose, passion—and the energy to put those qualities to work—are the key ingredients for success in any marketing strategy. If they’re AWOL, the same will be true for your marketing strategy.
- Most American workers aren’t engaged on the job
- Marketing teams can help your company tear down silos and engage your entire workforce
- An engaged workforce builds enthusiasm among themselves and your customers
- Once they’re engaged, empower your workforce to help your marketing team build brand enthusiasm among your target customers
Tear Down Those Silos
Marketing, though, goes well beyond the siloed conference rooms of your marketing team. In fact, if you’re doing marketing right, your marketing team shouldn’t remain in its own world.
On the contrary, your marketing team should reach out to your other departments to gather their expertise and insight on the product or service you’re selling. For example, when you’re marketing a mechanical widget, it’s a smart decision to consult the engineering team for their insights.
Learning how it works can help your marketing team explain how the new widget can benefit your customers. If the engineer isn’t one of the engaged 34 percent, your marketing team might be out of luck. Instead of an in-depth explanation, your team might receive a yawnfest—or worse—a brush-off. After all, they’re engineers, not schoolteachers, they might think!
Marketing teams should also work closely with your sales teams. After all, they’re the ones on the front lines. They hear all the feedback about your products and services—and know what your customers want. When they’re engaged with your company’s mission—their collaborative power can set your marketing campaigns on fire.
Engagement Empowers Teams to Become Brand Evangelists
Just today, as I started to plan this article, I had a revelation. Not the religious kind. A real-life, real-world illustration of exactly how important engaged employees are to marketing success.
As I typed out the outline, I glanced in my inbox. It was time to renew my subscription to an online service. As usual, I clicked the button “Pay with (my usual choice in third-party payment providers).” Instead of using my house credit, though, it pulled it out of my balance.
I needed to cancel my payment, receive my refund, send my fund balance to my checking account, and then redo the order. Easy-peasy, right?
Not with the third-party payment provider’s sitcom-worthy customer support team. After speaking to two different support staff, each with the same canned speech and reluctance to refer me to their supervisor, I hung up and contacted the subscription provider.
A game-changer. A human answered the phone. A cheery one who went the extra mile and then some to solve my problem. Not only did she enlist the help of her supervisor, but the supervisor (I could hear their conversations) sounded cheery too—and answered her questions about the situation, which the payment company made more complex than necessary, with expertise and compassion.
Since I was working on this article, I asked the customer service agent, “Does your company have an employee engagement program?”
“Oh, yes!” she exclaimed (I knew the answer before I asked).
Turns out, her company not only offers a lot of perks that go way beyond the material, but it also empowers its employees to speak on its behalf and act on behalf of their customers instead of going through endless layers of bureaucracy.
While we talked, she told me how wonderful it was to work there. HR should pay her a bonus for her recruitment savvy. She nearly convinced me to apply myself.
During that phone call, I saw the fruits of employee engagement as the customer support person started a conference call with the payment provider.
After an hour of waiting for an available support person—because of the sheer volume of complaint calls–we finally found the 34 percent. That engaged employee solved my issue in about a half-hour. I sent my balance through to my bank, renewed—and upgraded–my subscription, and then it hit me.
I’d just seen the marketing power of employee engagement in action.
Come to think about it, marketing should pay her a bonus, too. Her employer’s business is growing by leaps and bounds—adding more services and products as it grows and upsells to its customers. Including me.
Statistics, Not Only Personal Experience, Show That Engagement Drives Profits
Now, think about those two situations in scale. My experience is anything but a fluke. Statistics show that employee engagement does indeed drive marketing ROI by a significant percentage. The more business your engaged employees bring in, the more it drives up profits.
Beheshti and other studies point out that teams who are highly engaged demonstrate 21 to 22 percent higher profitability. Along with that comes 41 percent less absenteeism, as well as 59 percent less turnover. When you add the increased profitability from plugging the money drain that comes with turnover, it’s a recipe for greater all-around profitability—not only within teams.
A Loyalty 360 study supports that conclusion. Reporting customer retention rates 18 percent higher for companies whose employees are “highly engaged,” the study demonstrates the impact engaged employees can have on this sought-after marketing metric.
- That kind of engagement can only happen when every department acts as the right arm of the marketing team.
- That kind of collaboration depends on the marketing team’s initiative to get everyone from the CEO to the janitor and everyone in between involved in marketing efforts.
Creating happy employees–and empowering them to speak for the brand—this company’s HR team was as much a part of its marketing strategy as the CMO herself.
Take the Next Step–Empower Employees to Share Content
To further drive marketing success through employee engagement, consider involving them in sharing content on social media and elsewhere. Provide your employees with a set of guidelines, some training, and you’ll soon see an uptick in customer engagement. After all, customers trust an employee’s word more than they would trust a message from a marketer who’s paid to spread the word.
As Entrepreneur’s Ryan Erskine points out, brand messages shared by employees reach 561 percent more people than do the marketing team’s “official” posts. Not only that, but those messages are shared 24 times more often if an employee shares it—in contrast to the marketing team’s official social media channels.
That’s because no matter how “authentic” and down to earth you craft your marketing messages to be, there’s no substitute for an employee who loves what she does and tells the world about how good her (and her fellow employees’) work is.
When your company unleashes the power of unfettered employee engagement upon your target customers, it will become pure marketing gold. Just try it.