Article publié le Mercredi 21 avril 2004.
Branding the employee…
We have seen some time ago how Corporate Branding is a planned strategic process. (See www.lexpress and type search ‘Ashraf Oozeerally’ to look for the Brand_Talk entitled ‘CEO’s inventing our future’). Well we tend to normally neglect our Employees and think only in terms of market-oriented communication actions, but did you know that the Branded Employee concept sits just at the heart of the branding paradigm?
In Corporate Mauritius, our companies tend to forget their employees and think of them only at the last minute, when everything else is going wrong around. Our business leaders think more of shareholder value, market share, market penetration, market capitalization, profit-after-tax, share of mind… But are these enough to provide peace of mind? Of course not! Employees are the lifeblood of organizations and Employee communications should then constitute the oxygen that goes through the blood cells of the organization structure.
A textile company like the CMT and its team leader Mr Francois Woo should be considered a model of excellence in this respect as it involves all employees in almost all decisions and communicates with them in all instances: whether in good profitable times or hard stormy ones. At CMT, Employees are part of the Big Family.
We cannot possibly talk of Employee branding without making reference to Employee Communications. The former director of Corporate Communications of General Motors, Alvie Smith, in his detailed book “Innovative Employee Communications” (Prentice Hall, 1991) lists the following Six Commandments as excellent practices that will ensure that internal communication becomes a reality in any organization:
Employee Communication is a fundamental component of the organizational management system
A clear statement of commitment by Top Management, as well as its participation and support is essential
Communication must be a planned process – there must be a strategy – involving both communication professionals and key management people
Managers are the key conduits and catalysts for effective communication
Priority business issues should be at the core content of the employee communication program and should be discussed in an understandable and open manner through various channels of communication
The communication system should undergo regular evaluations to prove its worth.
May I humbly add a Seventh Commandment to this list?
7- Employees should be always placed at the core of Change Enablement strategies implemented by the organization, as in today’s highly competitive environments managing change is a daily challenge that determines the survival of the fittest and constitutes the roadmap to sustainable growth.
This “Seventh Commandment” is particularly important for organizations going through merger and alliance activities. The recent case of Iframac being taken over by the BAI and also all other mergers could benefit from such employee branding strategies to a large extent. The Branding Paradigm, since it focuses on and pulls together every part of the organization before, during and after a merger – has the capability of promoting the integration process and create long-term value. And let’s not forget this: No integration process (be it in a context of Change or not) can succeed without positively and pro-actively involving ALL the employees.
Without the open support and commitment of the troops making up an organization, no battle for growth and success can be won and brands that are fighting on the market on behalf of the organizations behind will not have enough firepower to sustain such attacks and are therefore condemned to always limit themselves to ill-defined, haphazard reactive actions! The choice is ours…
Any ideas? Share them with me on email@example.com
Managing Director, eye_dentity brand consultancy