Employee engagement is a powerful thing. It builds pride in a brand and drives rational and emotional engagement. It can also bring new meaning and definition to a company’s vision, mission, values, and positioning. Most importantly, it inspires employees to bring the brand to life in meaningful ways, whether they interact with customers or support those who do. By using the brand as an inspirational rallying cry through a strong employee engagement strategy, it’s possible to unite all employees across an organization. What follows are 10 fun ideas for employee engagement that you may find useful as you create and implement your own strategy. Keep in mind that these kinds of ideas are only a small part of bringing a brand to life. For maximum impact, it’s also necessary to operationalize the brand through training and culture development.
1: Create a contest that asks employees to illustrate the brand story.
People love contests. So if your brand has a new story or manifesto (or alternatively a new set of values), invite team members to submit creative images (photography or illustration) that they think best represent that story or set of values. This gets them thinking about the story and also internalizing a key element of your brand. Pick a winning image to use as artwork in your office (or in an external space, if desired). Make sure to publicize the winner and give them a reward.
2: Create a brand ambassador network.
An ambassador network is important because it drives peer-to-peer learning and action. By selecting team members to serve as on-the-ground, go-to resources, you’ll have a built-in network of people who can lead brand activation workshops and serve as figureheads for anything brand-related that other employees may have questions about. Make sure to recognize the ambassadors with a special pin or by offering a small bonus.
3: Create a mobile messaging app.
A mobile messaging app allows you to create bursts to team member mobile phones that provide in-the-moment awareness and engagement beyond the desktop. Burst messages always keep it short and simple, piquing interest and action, as well as continuous learning.
4: Create a Brand 101 quiz.
If you’ve been intimately involved in launching a brand, you may forget that some team members don’t even know what a brand is. And it’s hard to get people to live a brand if they don’t understand its definition. So to educate on everything brand, create a game-like quiz that can be executed on the Intranet. Use other known brands as examples to demonstrate what a brand is and what it can stand for.
5: Create magnetic poetry.
Give every office fridge a set of branded magnetic poetry that includes words and concepts important to your new brand. This will inspire team members to use these words as springboards for innovation, imagination, and fun, creating additional conversation and discussion about the brand.
6: Make a video of employee-created brand sound bites.
If you have a new positioning statement, ask team members to say in 20 words or less (or in an image) what the new positioning means to them. Capture these statements and/or images in a video and deliver the video via email to the company mailing list, or alternatively, show it during an all-employee meeting when the brand is being introduced.
7: Create swag.
Everyone loves free stuff. And creating swag that relates to your brand gives you the opportunity to imbue meaning as well as excite employees. What you choose to give away is up to you, but if the items relate to your brand they will be more impactful and meaningful.
8: Implement social intranet software.
If you don’t already have a virtual platform for national (or global) interaction, you might want to think about implementing one as it can be used as a powerful tool for employee engagement. For example, via social intranet software, you could create a virtual treasure hunt where employees find certain things within the software (like an upcoming HR event, date for the next company picnic or meeting, or contact info for a brand ambassador, etc.) and award swag for those who find all the answers.
9: Create an onboarding module.
An onboarding module is a smart way to educate team members on all things branding—from the basics to the specifics. One option is to create three self-paced tutorials. The first can discuss branding basics, so everyone understands what a brand is. The next module can discuss your brand and its elements specifically. And the third module could explain why being a brand advocate creates a customer experience and offer ways team members could live the brand based on their role. To make the tutorials fun, end each one with a quiz where players can earn swag for demonstrating their new brand knowledge.
10: Create a short survey.
To test for knowledge, capture questions, and ensure team members are getting everything they can out of your employee engagement initiatives, a short feedback loop survey, which you distribute post-event or activity, is a smart way to ensure engagement is on track. Limit the time needed to take the survey to about five minutes for maximum participation.
Once you have a list of employee engagement ideas you’d like to implement, make sure to organize them in a way that makes sense so your team members progress from a basic understanding of brand to total brand advocacy. Putting your ideas and initiatives into calendar format is a smart way to stay on track. It may seem like a lot of effort, but the reward is that your team members will believe in the brand and become passionate ambassadors of it, helping you achieve the reputation you set out to earn.