Engagement Starts at the Top

Posted on: 5th August 2015

I love my job. Waking up on a Monday morning gives me the same feeling as waking up on a Saturday morning. I don’t hate it when the weekend’s over and I don’t wish my week away. That’s because I have passion for the company I work for, and I’m engaged in the business. I’m invested in its success and I want to be a part of that. I know I’m in a minority, and I haven’t felt like this about all the places I’ve worked. But for all the places I’ve hated working in, the common denominator has been lack of passion and communication from those upstairs. The big bosses who have no link to those in the chain further down. It’s like that in a huge amount of business, but not all.

Take Disney. Every Cast Member lives and breathes the brand, whether they work in the parks, the stores or the hotels. You might say ‘well that’s easy, because it’s Disney’ - but not everyone loves Disney. And when The Walt Disney Company was first started it was the passion of Walt Disney, passed down to his staff that still remains to this day. One of my first jobs was retail, in a clothing store. I was so passionate about the brand I worked for, and what they stood for. I loved their ethos and style so much that it changed my home life. I was more active, happier and anything seemed possible. I still wear their clothes. I was, and still am, an ambassador for that brand.

So what can you say about your company? Think about your sales department. Your sales people have to be passionate about your brand to sell the idea of what you have to offer. They have to believe in its value, see how it benefits your potential customers, and make them wonder how they ever survived without what you have to offer. Now think of your best Sales Person - it’s amazing and inspiring to see them work, right? Wouldn’t you like to see this replicated in the other departments throughout your business?

The journey to brand passion and engagement starts at the employment stage. Only employing people who are a brand fit seems a little unfair. On paper someone might have all the right attributes you’re looking for, but when you meet them they just don’t have the x factor. And that’s okay - let’s be honest, you don’t want to hire someone who will suck the life out of your team.

Once you’ve got your team sorted, their line manager steps up. This team’s manager sets their goals, leads them towards success and delivers the aspirations you’ve laid out. Their team are the doers - they’re the front line that will get the job done. They’re often the first point of contact to the outside world of consumers. They should be as excited about working for your company as Disney Cast Members are working for theirs.

The point I’m trying to make is this passion and motivation will breed their engagement with your company - and this comes from you. The Top Dog. Think back to why you do what you do. Yes, it’s a job and you appreciate the money, but you also want to be successful. Success breeds happiness and motivates more success.

So how do you make sure the passion you have for your company filters down through the management structure all the way to the bottom? Well, setting clear goals and sharing successes through regular, concise communication is a huge part of this. Being aware when a staff member is rewarded for something great. How were they rewarded? Were they rewarded for a behaviour that other people can and should be aspiring towards? Let people know. And let people know you know they’ve been rewarded. I’m not suggesting that you should walk into everyone’s offices every day, give them a hug and tell them they’re appreciated. That’s their line manager’s job (well maybe not the hug part). But being around, and making people aware that you’re aware. That’s a huge motivation booster.

It’s a great feeling to wake up in the morning and want to go to work, and that’s possible no matter what type of business you’re in. A happy employee is an engaged employee. An engaged employee is an ambassador for your brand. And an ambassador for your brand is gold. 

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