Employees are your most valuable assets– so why not keep them happy, healthy, and motivated? By rewarding them in cool and interesting ways, you can empower them to become passionate employee advocates who want to amplify your brand’s story and reach. After all, the most happy and engaged employee advocates are the ones who are actively sharing their love of your company and brand with their social networks.
And yes, there is a definite connection between happiness and productivity when it comes to empowering employee advocates. Jessica Pryce-Jones, CEO of iOpener, recently conducted a survey looking at the correlation between happiness and productivity at work.
The research proved that the old adage, a happy worker is a productive worker, is true. The happiest employees were found to be:
· 180% more energized than their less content colleagues
· 155% happier with their jobs
· 150% happier with life
· 108% more engaged
· 50% more motivated
· 50% more productive
The results are astonishing but also not surprising– a workplace with happy, engaged employees is intrinsically more productive. These employees are more likely to advocate on behalf of the brand by spreading the gospel about the company they work for and love. Each one of your employees carries your brand story with them and has the ability to present praise about your company outside the office simply because they genuinely believe in the product and like the company they work for.
And in return for evangelizing your company, you should be rewarding your employee advocates. Offering perks and benefits because you appreciate their hard work and social sharing is an effective way to continue the cycle of advocacy. Here are a few examples of how some companies are rewarding their employees with not just swag, but with a genuine interest in promoting their well-being:
· Genentech: Genentech is the world’s number one biotech company based out of San Francisco. They believe in adding convenience to their employees’ daily lives, from on-site childcare to full-service cafeterias to weekly car washes. They are also committed to employee assistance programs, which provide counseling or legal advice as well as tuition reimbursement for further education.
· Clif Bar: The natural food company out of Emeryville, Calif. that markets food towards people living a healthy lifestyle practices what they preach in the workplace. The Clif Bar offices feature a rock-climbing wall, loaner bikes, and two and a half hours of paid gym time. Additionally, they offer a $350 towards races and competitions their employees want to participate in.
· Tom’s of Maine: This company is dedicated to balancing wellness and community interests with working lives. Tom’s encourage employees to use 5% of their paid work time to volunteer in the community and to take advantage of abbreviated working hours during the summer. They also encourage holistic fitness and wellness programs from yoga to self-defense to massages at their Wellness Centers.
So you see, these perks are pretty cool and they can go a long way in keeping your employees happy. However, you have to remember that while offering perks and benefits is a great thing, it’s not something that should be done in the company’s best interest. You need to offer recognition and rewards because you understand that a company should support its employees, just like employees should act in the best interest of their company. While all these fabulous perks might help you recruit top talent, it’s a completely different thing to be able to retain that talent. All the ping pong tables and happy hours and free snacks in the world won’t keep employees productive – only actual recognition and appreciation will.
We believe that encouraging friendly competition by maintaining leaderboards is an effective way to ensure employees are recognized and appreciated for their brand advocacy. Your most active employees on social can be tracked and highlighted on leaderboards. Small companies may only need something as simple as a whiteboard chart, whereas larger organizations would benefit from a robust employee advocacy platform. However you choose to keep score, a leaderboard is an effective way to see, measure, and recognize your top brand advocates. It not only instills healthy competition among coworkers, it also helps to boost morale within the ranks.
Though we outlined a few examples of notable company rewards and perks, we understand that sometimes, it isn’t feasible to be so generous. And that’s ok! There are lots of other creative, cost-effective ways you can reward your employee advocates. Because even small measures of recognition can go a long way in letting your employees feel appreciated and valued. For example:
· Have regular company lunches – everyone loves free food!
· Reimburse mileage and transportation costs for employee commutes
· Provide a hosted happy hour get-together for employees
· Hold a weekly raffle with gift cards prizes for top social sharers
· Have company meetings to recognize top brand advocates
You see, the rewards you give don’t necessarily need to be extravagant but should be enough to encourage and motivate your team to advocate on your brand’s behalf. Any reward, big or small, will go a long way in showing your employees that you appreciate them, which will make them happy, which will in turn, empower them to become active brand advocates.