On Employee Appreciation Day, How Will Yours ‘March 4th’?
March 4, 2011 2 Comments
March 4th! The only day of the year that is also a command. In today’s socially networked environment, where companies are forced to realize that they don’t control their brands — their customers do — their best “Brand Ambassadors” are often overlooked, under appreciated and underutilized: their employees.
And that’s dangerous. When 50% of employees who say they have considered leaving their job (source: MarketTools, Inc.) mix with the explosion in social media a potentially brand killing lethal combination ensues. For example, let’s say you frequent a social media site where new autos are discussed and saw a valued member of the community who worked for an automaker but had nothing good to say about the company, you’d think twice before considering buying one of their models.
Social media builds engagement with employees, too. Traditional internal communications efforts, typically administered by your HR team and utilized to inform employees of company news and events via e-mail, newsletter or a Web 1.0 designed internal site are no longer enough. These cascading, ‘sermons on high’ one-way communications are often discounted or (worse) ignored by employees — especially in large companies with multiple offices spread over widely divergent geographic areas.
“Just as ‘All politics is local‘; ‘All communications is social'”
As mentioned in a prior post, let Communications/Public Affairs handle PR; let Marketing handle marketing; and now, let HR handle human resources – but rely upon a social media professional (yes, that skill set, again) to optimize all three.
The application of current social media two-way conversation strategies will engage a company’s employees the same way social media is used to connect the company with its customers. The more the employees feel connected to the company, its brands and products the more supportive they will be. Acknowledge that their opinion matters and is heard.
As for quick things you can do today, here a ten great ideas from Recognition Professionals International, the organization whose board member helped create Employee Appreciation Day (the first Friday each March) in 1995, to show your employees you care:
1. Ask an employee to write down six ways they would like to be rewarded. Anything goes. The only rule is that half the ideas need to be low cost or no cost.
2. Schedule lunch dates with employees. Give them an opportunity to select the luncheon site, and use the time to simply get to know them better.
3. Offer a free one-year subscription to an employee’s favorite business magazine and have it sent to their home.
4. Consider a gift certificate entitling an employee to lunch with you or another mentor of his/her choosing for the purpose of being coached on one or more topics.
5. Offer a shopping spree to a local supply store for an employee to get items (no staplers or paper clips allowed) to personalize his/her office or cubicle.
6. Give the gift of wellness. Have a limousine pick up an employee for a full day at a spa. Give gift coupons for ballroom dance, yoga or golf lessons.
7. Give a fun-loving employee a series of On your mark-get set-GO cards that they can redeem at their discretion. For example: Leave work early to go to a movie, or shopping, or play ball.
8. Send a handwritten note of thanks for the completion of a job well done.
9. If an employee stays late/goes above and beyond to complete a project, send the employee and his/her partner to a nice dinner.
10. Purchase a company “toy” your employees would most enjoy; a cappuccino machine, dart board, volleyball court, exercise room.
Remember, on the Web, everyone is a publisher; everyone is a critic; and every employee is a brand ambassador. March forth, together.