Your team is your best asset and biggest differentiator. But, how many leaders are treating their employees this way? Are you treating your employees even better than you how you treat your top customers?
Creating an employee-centered company culture is more than a one off project, it’s not a task to simply cross off your to-do list. Instead, culture should be connected to every facet of your company. Culture should be formed in lockstep with your core values.
First, why marketing?
The CMO sits in the best seat to tactically scale what’s on the CEO’s mind when it comes to culture. Marketing can’t invent culture, but it should be responsible for establishing and fueling it through partnering with HR and other functions. Think about it – driving employee engagement is not too different from driving customer engagement. Both require strong messaging, positioning and activation. Are you with me? Good, because now I’m going to share the five ways marketing can truly bolster company culture.
Build a framework of consistency
This is the #1 area where culture gets lost. Exec teams should establish a framework of what core elements of a business are part of culture, but team members will mold from there. Marketing creates consistency among diversity, but product and sales for example will live and breath culture in totally different ways. The one important constant is that your brand consistency and values are fully baked before rolling anything out company-wide. Think of it like freedom within a framework.
Connect culture to performance
Marketing is how you know you’re winning. In a performance-focused culture, it’s expected you tie everything together by measurable efforts – set goals, share goals and stay connected on those goals. This creates transparency company-wide but also fuels competitive spirit across the org. A good culture requires winning, but how do you know you’re winning without strong marketing?
Storytelling, both internally and externally is a big deal for culture. It can be as simple as a weekly email, company-wide meetings, or team lunches to name a few. Whatever your format of choice, the keys to good storytelling in a winning culture are consistency, frequency, and authenticity.
Internal storytelling is the perfect venue for keeping teams informed and bought in, while also serving as a tool for CEOs to celebrate individuals and company wins publicly. External storytelling is brand building. I always say brand equals your team, your culture, and your leadership. Shaping a brand that others want to be a part of is huge (there’s a reason why companies with the strongest brands usually have the best culture).
Build compelling experiences
Your culture is only as good as your team. Create a culture that’s inviting and unified by facilitating employee experiences that both make your team members feel valued and create the venue for employees to engage with one another. Marketing will, more often than not, be the facilitator of said experiences.
Things like annual holiday parties, company retreats, offices, etc. may look a lot different these days, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth executing. We held our yearly company sales kickoff virtually but invested in giving it the look and feel of our live kickoffs by investing in a partner to host the event with the highest quality possible, mailed out swag packages to each employee, and built in sessions for having fun with a live band, and guest presenters like a magician that our employees’ families could be part of it. And, we did this over the course of a few days rather than trying to cram everything into session.
Incorporate the ‘why’
Do you know your employees get out of bed and go to work for you every day? It all goes back to “they why” of your company. Employees want to, and should, have an understanding of the bigger picture and how their role supports the company’s overall mission and “why.” When people can rally around a cause bigger than themselves, it’s powerful.
Marketing is responsible for keeping “the why” top of mind across the company daily. By telling stories, humanizing customers, and sharing your company’s value and messaging, marketing links everyone’s efforts back to the “why” that drives every decision.
Winning culture is contagious. Once that culture flywheel is built and it starts bringing in great people, it just keeps turning. Without intentionality and building programs that truly put your employees first, it’s impossible to bring in talent. Marketing is fundamental to establishing and sustaining a winning culture, it is the linchpin that brings your culture to life.