As all businesses continue to adapt to the current conditions, it’s more important than ever to build relationships based on the best version of ourselves. Representing a work culture, you believe that combining an entrepreneurial mission based on passion, creativity, and problem-solving is a great way to assure your clients of your unwavering dedication, risk-taking, and commitment to measurable results. You can build and nurture this brand advocacy in your company by starting from within.
The “new” professional environment
The line between our personal and professional lives initially became blurred when the “shelter in place” orders took effect. As people adapted to working from home and all the challenges and opportunities that it brings, it was clear flexibility, and the ability to make adjustments would be in the driver’s seat. Moving forward as we encounter decisions and friction points, it would be important to immerse ourselves in a professional environment built on support, transparency, and empowerment.
Enhancing internal professional growth
Being authentic and genuinely helpful are key qualities that help you to be more engaged and productive both personally and professionally. Illumine8 is known for its nurturing culture, values, and opportunities for growth. These key benefits have become industry standards for helping family-owned businesses achieve these practices from within. In the article Internal marketing tips to increase employee retention, productivity there is a clear alignment with employment longevity, and engaged productive employees. According to Business Insider and Jessica Pryce-Jones’ book Happiness at Work, you will spend 90,000 hours of your lifetime at work. Ensuring that the majority of that time is spent knowing you are enhancing your personal and professional growth should be key measurements to a long successful career journey.
Employee Value Proposition
With that in mind, let’s jump into why it is also important to have an Employee Value Proposition, especially in the “new normal” where we have become our own self-motivator outside of Zoom, Slacks, and emails from coworkers, executives, and clients. What is an EVP? It’s not to be confused with an Electronic Voice Phenomenon recorder which is another subject altogether. An EVP is an Employee Value Proposition that distills the essence of your employer brand culture, values, and opportunities for growth. One of the key takeaways in Illumine8's Internal Marketing Playbook is when you believe and buy into the brand culture you perform better. When employees live the vision, customers are much more likely to experience the company in a way that’s consistent with what you’ve promised because they’re authentic. Without authenticity and trust, your team cannot deliver a great customer experience.
This brings us back to productivity and engagement. All of this takes energy and these days there are a lot of distractions as well as a lot of empowering things we need the energy to perform well and make good decisions. To get a good reading on how your company is doing a recommended tool is the eNPS (there we go again, marketing has a lot of acronyms) which is an employee Net Promoter Score. This survey rates whether your company is a promoter, passive, or a distractor. This applies to life too. You can take a look at yourself to see which one of these you are and which one you want to be. This insight ultimately leads to growth and knowing thyself.
Key Performance Indicators
Believing in work culture is a commitment to being productive as our authentic selves which becomes the internal marketing foundation. Applying this to time management ensures you are helping clients reach the right audience with the solution that is right for them on time, on budget, and backed up by data. Using creative problem-solving, dedication, and risk-taking with measurable results is the ultimate goal. Read our entire eBook about measurable results known as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
Creative time management
In order to achieve these goals, it takes both management and creativity. Before COVID-19, our time management might have looked different. There may have been an unspoken separation between home and work, then the coronavirus happened, and eventually “the new normal” emerged (and I’m sure most of us are ready for the next COVID term). In marketing, they call it project management. Depending on your business, you may refer to it as your to-do list/timeline/status, etc., but in a post-COVID-19 world, this also means providing assurance of safety, security, support, and above all transparency. Your to-do list might as well have been a “nice-to-have” list because it is going to take experience and genuine personal connections to get through the COVID-19 virus/crisis/pandemic as a team.
Project management tools
As the way we referred to COVID changed so did the economy and how products and services were marketed. The main thing that was clear across the board is we are in this together and will do whatever it takes to get through this, even if that means always providing an ear to bend as a stress release. As an agile marketing consultancy, we were already set up to work “online” so the technical ramp-up was minimal. Many companies like us use project management software like Teamwork or Asana. Pair that with Slack, Google Drive, and HubSpot’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and CMS (Content Management System) we were all set to move to a remote environment.
Teamwork, as it is appropriately named, is a great tool that helps foster project tasks for both account and creative teams and gives each team member visibility, accountability, and completions. It also outlines the collaboration between team members by laying out how each task is dependent on the entire team to meet the project timeline. As we moved from working in an office and asking the person next to you if they had gotten to a task, we moved to an environment where asking became sending a message in Teamwork or Slack. This combined with Google Meet videos and Slack phone and video has allowed team members to be in constant contact. Not to say it’s all work because humor and culture are key. Having a #funoutsidework Slack channel, online trivia contests, and letting coworkers’ kids/pets make appearances at our weekly staff meetings are all part of getting to know each other and provide a much-needed release.
As time progressed, working 100% remotely became less of a transactional “meet the deadline” relationship and more of an internal relationship between coworkers. We understand what is on each other’s plate both professionally and personally and honor how a coworker works towards the same goal in the manner that works best for them. Whether there are personal challenges with other members of the household, isolation, fatigue, uncertainty, or social injustice, meeting them with empathy, education, and empowerment is all part of being true to the culture. Explaining why something happened with laughter and course-correcting yourself versus making excuses helps to build relationships and in the end, your coworkers will help you when you need it and vice versa. In the words of Maya Angelou, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Not because they have to but because they want to and ultimately that shines through to the client that you are all on this mission together. This connection builds the foundation for an organic thread between helping family-owned businesses make an economic difference and operating internally as a family.
In conclusion, we are all in this together. As we navigate identifying our authentic selves both personally and professionally, progress comes with establishing our value. Whether we are a promoter, passive, or a distractor, we all have the ability to look inside and find new ways to communicate with coworkers, clients, and the community by developing our personal connections. As Robert Frost said, “The only way around is through,” which is where the real growth happens.
About The Author
Carrie anticipates client needs and champions innovative strategic solutions to provide winning marketing and sales campaigns. With over two decades working for top full-service national marketing agencies, she brings with her a wealth of strategic knowledge leading integrated B2B and B2C awareness, acquisition, and retention campaigns.