Want to sell your company brand to the world? Sell it to your employees first! Winning over your staff can be the first step to a windfall of customers and sales.
Effective employer branding turns employees into brand advocates. And these advocates inevitably and eagerly will share their enthusiasm with the rest of the world through social media. The virtues of the company’s core values and its culture will be heralded everywhere. In effect your staff can become another marketing tool, but a far less expensive one.
Employee buy-in starts with leadership
So what kind of leadership style delivers the strongest employee engagement? Well if you ask Netflix’s leader, Reed Hastings, it begins by creating a culture of freedom and responsibility.
Why ask Netflix’s CEO? Why not? Remember the first COVID-19 lockdown way back in 2020? Binge-watching Netflix content was the emotional comfort food that got a lot of us through those terrifying weeks and months.
This is particularly ironic and here’s why! In 1997 Netflix launched a revolution in the entertainment industry with its unique business model. Today, during this current “remote work revolution,” the Netflix playbook could be the model for all of corporate America. That’s because it echoes the demands of millions of workers: value people over process! And a lot of C-suite leaders are listening—some willingly; some not so much.
From a recent study, entitled Assessing Leadership in Business – Marketing: A Critical Investigation of Reed Hastings Nolan W. McAndrew Department of Marketing, University of Connecticut: “As the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings is known for his hands-off approach to leadership, which offers employees high levels of autonomy but comes with a cost: elevated expectations and a culture of overly direct feedback that toes the line between critical and constructive.”
A revolution in employee engagement
No doubt, Netflix’s leaders have their detractors or naysayers, yet they’re obviously on to something. So how could their “something” work for you? How willing are you to overhaul your leadership style? How does the idea of providing a greater level of autonomy to your workers appeal to you—or repel you?
For example, according to the same University of Connecticut study, “…..Any idea at Netflix, regardless of who is proposing it, will be carefully discussed, and all pros, cons, and alternative options will be evaluated.”
Imagine giving your staff the freedom to innovate, which means giving them the freedom to risk failure? Do they currently have the freedom to be candid instead of placating their supervisors? Can they risk being honest without worrying about losing their jobs?
If like most companies today you’ve got a multi-generational crew, how does your corporate culture facilitate team bonding among them all? Are you building a culture that stewards Millennials and GenZers? Are you grooming them for leadership instead of fanning the flames of generational divisiveness?
Rebooting: where,when, how?
How willing are you to adapt to a hybrid staffing model? What directives do you need to establish for the health and safety of your workers on-site and home-based because of the pandemic? Have you and your managers discussed ways to avoid “presenteeism”? The notion of presenteeism has been bandied about for over a year because remote-workers fear being out of sight, out of mind, and therefore out of luck for promotions. Is there favoritism among your on-site employees just because they showed up at the office?
The current employee revolution can be regarded as a war or an opportunity. While the demands and conditions from many workers around the country may not all be palatable, some of them may turn out to be quite sensible. Are you ready to risk giving a few of these ideas a trial?
Leading through changing times is daunting under any circumstances, but the pandemic has made it seem like a herculean task. And yet right now, converting the employee experience into a culture-transforming, marketing tool, may make the whole ordeal worth it.
Can your current leadership methods see you through? If not, and you’re willing to make the adjustments to move forward, help is a click away.