Forget Engagement and Strive for FUNCTIONALL

The last Employee Engagement conference I attended had speakers from both Human Resources and Communications at Fortune 500 companies presenting case studies of their latest Internal Branding efforts. Based on their similarities, I deduced that the trend in Employee Communications is “I Am [insert company name]”

They must have all read the same 3-step engagement doctrine which lists the path to engagement as movement from UNDERSTANDING (“I understand how to impact the brand and the company”) to DELIVERY (“I am the brand”) and thought that it was as simple as fill-in-the-blank.

But, since it is the last day of February and trendwatching.com’s February Brief was about FUNCTIONALL, let’s brainstorm together on how we can implement cheap and/or simple ideas that keep employees committed to their employer and enhance the culture and brand.


1. Move From Message Controller to Brand Curator.
The first step is to realize that whoever you are in the organization, your role must shift from message controller to message curator. You will now facilitate the conversations, not invent them.
If you’re scared already, then either you know that the talk won’t be pretty or you don’t know what their saying, in which case, back up a step.
-1. Conduct Focus Groups.
Even if times are bad and layoffs were deep and employees are scared, mad or sad, talk to them. They are still on your payroll and expected to contribute to the success of the organization. Ask them how they are doing that, and how derive satisfaction from doing that? Then help them tell the stories.
2. Give them some toys.
For less than $300 each, you can buy digital camcorders that tap into everyone’s creativity and responsibility into bringing the brand to life. Help them through editing and enhancing but keep it real. That’s what NY Utility Con Edison did – and the results are authentic movies that appear on the CE Eye channel- a popular internal video news channel.
3. Tune into WII FM (What’s In It For Me.)
Ok- this is only for the brave. Help your employees build and promote their personal brand. Give them professional assistance in updating their resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and articulating the value that they bring to their current role. This is a radical way to become part of the dialogue thats happening without you. I contend that this will come back to you both in brand equity and the ability to utilize and deploy the right talent at the right time for every new challenge that arises.

At BRANDEMiX, we believe that companies are made up of moving parts called employees, and the easier it is for all of us to function as one, the more successful we all we be.

Let me know how it goes with your efforts in FUNCTIONALL. I want to hear your stories.
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