Recognise This! – Communication and “Face Time” are critical to building employee engagement and strong brands.

If I asked you what industry you think would be the most difficult to create an environment in which employees would want to engage, which industry would you name? Retail is an industry that quickly comes to mind for many reasons, not the least of which is the mercurial nature of customers in a retail setting.

So when I saw this video of Bob Chaves, the president & CEO of Hermes US talking about the importance of employee engagement and brand, I had to share it with you.

Mr. Chaves speaks to the importance of organisational culture to brand and engagement saying:

“At Hermes, we have a very strong service culture geared towards service and quality. And that is something we extend throughout the entire customer experience.”

But how do you do that? You can’t without very intentional and robust employee communications methods.

Importance of Communication

When asked, “How do you strengthen that culture and build the bond between the employees and the brand?” Chaves replied:

“It’s about communication. This sounds so simple and easy, but it’s so very important. We have a very open and communicative company. This starts with the senior management team and how they communicate on down the line. It’s also about how I communicate with the whole company in general. One of the ways we do that is the ‘State of Company’ address doing a review of what we did in the past year and what we’re focussed on in the next year. That way everyone knows what the goals of the company are. We’ve been doing this for years and years now, and it’s very effective. So that’s how we strengthen our bond and relationships among all of our employees.”

That active element of sharing successes as well as plans for the future is critical. Obviously, Hermes is committed to communication. My only quibble with this approach is that it is once a year. If Hermes implemented a system to communicate these successes and plans regularly in a way that is meaningful to employees in their daily work, then think how much more the employees would feel connected to the organisation and the “service and quality” brand on a daily basis.

Importance of Bringing People Together

One last point I enjoyed in the video was Mr. Chaves explanation of shutting down all 24 Hermes stores in the US to bring all employees together at one location for a “family reunion.” Mr. Chaves explains, “The bonding and motivation that resulted from that has been astounding.”

Building the “team” is critical, but it’s simply not possible for many distributed organisations to shut down to bring everyone together. But the reward of being able to put that “face to a name” is exponential. This can be accomplished through Social Recognition in which employees can recognise and congratulate their colleagues on their achievements, interacting with them much as they would in familiar social networking tools.

How do you strengthen your team? What methods do you use to communicate past successes and plans for the future regularly and frequently to all employees?