10 Oct Employee Engagement: Terrible term, easy concept
It’s an awkward phrase like “ping him an email” or anything involving the word “moist.”
That expression is dehumanizing and sounds like an obligation. I picture someone in upper management checking off “engaged with an employee today” on their to-do list.
Creating a company culture that is inviting and engaging shouldn’t be a chore. According to Gallup, the easiest ways to engage are through “clarifying work expectations, getting people what they need to do their work, providing development and promoting positive coworker relationships.” (In simpler terms, “treating people like people.”) When employees feel engaged in a company culture, there is less employee turnover and increased productivity/profitability.
Even if the phrase is annoying, it is easy to see why companies are focused on “employee engagement.”
A creative – and often discounted – way to cultivate a relationship with employees and connect them to a brand is through imagery. How can you, as a company, incorporate this into your strategy?
Use Employees in Marketing Photos
When companies use stock imagery on a site, they disconnect the company from the employees. The company has beautiful photos, but the employees know it isn’t real. Eventually, your clients know it isn’t real. Initially, it’s a bit of a disappointment – like the tempting photo on the frozen dinner. Wouldn’t you rather be a box of mysterious chocolates?
If you have a gorgeous photo of an actual engineer or real employees working in an office featured on the website, then the employees will feel proud. They’ll feel that management is appreciative of their staff and wants to show them off to their clients. It not only humanizes your brand to the client, but to your employees. It also lets them know, they aren’t going to be replaced tomorrow.
Create a Portraiture Look They’ll Love
Many employees have never had a professional portrait taken outside of school or a wedding. You can see that for a fact on LinkedIn. Most of them hated the experience and think that they look awful in photos. Boost their self-esteem and hire a pro.
Work with your photographer to create a look that will showcase your corporate culture and staff at their best. Consider hiring a makeup artist to put the final touches on your employees (makeup, stray hairs, shiny foreheads, etc) before their portrait. If your staff has a portrait that makes them look good, they’ll not only feel connected to the brand but love you forever. They will remember that you cared and how you made them feel.
We have a client that hosts an annual sales competition between their multiple locations. Each site sends representatives to compete over their sales tactics and customer service. We photographed the event, and marketing made a photo book that was distributed to each location. It was a hit and gave participants a tangible memory of an event full of employee camaraderie.
Other clients have employee appreciation events where they pose with a mascot or dress up as superheroes. Events encourage team-building, and the photos provide a long lasting positive memory of those relationships.
There are some companies out there that give employees $7,500 to go on vacation to show their appreciation and engage. For those of us that don’t have that kind of budget, photography can be an easy way to incorporate employees into the company culture. If you need help coming up with a plan, let us know.