3 Ways in Which You Should Let Employees Influence Your Brand

Relinquishing control of the company brand is intimidating for employers. But allowing their employees to have a say in it can be positive. Example: Recently, Starbucks changed its dress code policies, allowing employees to wear different types of hats (literally, not figuratively) and dye their hair unnatural colors.

In this case, the company listened to employees and allowed them to drive the brand forward. Starbucks considered the benefits of connecting with different types of customers through employees’ colorful styles and saw the policy change as a chance to bring employees in on branding efforts.

What else should employees weigh in on? Certainly, there are aspects of a company where employers need to stay strong on their beliefs, but also others where employees should have input. 

1. Transparency
Employees won’t have the opportunity to influence a company’s brand if they know nothing about how the organization works. Understanding what’s beneath the company's surface allows them to recognize how they should represent the brand.

Unfortunately, 50 percent of employees don’t believe their companies are open and honest with them in this way. This was a conclusion of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) April 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey of 1,562 employed adults.

So, don't let your company be the kind employees criticize: Allow influence to influence transparency throughout your organization. Encourage questions about budgets, the mission statement and career-path opportunities. Employees who feel confident about their companies are less likely to feel stressed at work and more likely to want to grow within the company.

2. Social media policies
Even if your office bans the use of social media, employees will likely be sneaking in time to check their accounts daily. But look at the upside: Many are actually using social media in the workplace in ways that benefit the company. According to a September 2014 Pew Research Center survey, Social Media and the Workplace, 34 percent of 2,003 employees said they were using social media to take mental breaks from work.

Since employees already use social media in the workplace, and have a personal brand of their own, why not allow that usage in the office? For employees who use social media responsibly, this is a great way for them to influence a brand.

Create a “Social Media Behavior” section in employment agreements. Establish what is expected of social media usage in the office, and explain how staffers' posts may influence the company’s brand. When leadership allows employees to influence the company brand, both outside of and inside the office, a new level of trust can be built. 

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