Building a strong corporate identity is one of the key ingredients for success. It operates both on the internal and the external level, meaning that it will have a profound influence not only on your customers but also on your employees. Psychologically speaking, people want to be part of something that is bigger than themselves, and powerful brands offer them that. If we examine really successful companies and leaders, we will find out that their main focus isn’t directed at themselves, but at making the world around them a better place. So, it’s clear that there’s more than just a big, fat paycheck or additional perks to boosting engagement of your employees.

Harness the power of emotions

Emotions play an important part in any branding strategy as companies use feelings to get their customers to buy from them, and that’s no secret. However, it’s equally important for brands to establish strong emotional connections with their employees, as they’re the best and most effective brand ambassadors. Many companies make a mistake of treating their workforce as mere cogs in the machine and reducing them to automatons who only carry out some mechanical tasks. Big companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook, have taken a new approach to the whole internal branding concept and they’re blazing trails for others by showing them how to recruit an army of highly inspired and motivated employees. The perks of working for these tech giants include free meals, on-site gyms, amazing office spaces, free massage therapies, or excellent healthcare benefits.  Of course, not many companies can afford this, but there are other incentives such as promotional merchandise, telecommuting and flextime, conferences, tickets for various events, or summer Fridays.

Psychological ownership

Gallup has revealed a shocking stat that sheds new light on the issue of employee engagement. Namely, only 32% of employees in the U.S. are engaged and committed to their work, while the situation is much worse globally, as only 13% of workers are enthusiastic about their jobs. Undoubtedly, there are different factors that contribute to this huge workforce crisis, such as the lack of recognition, low salaries, undefined goals, and tasks, or the lack of teamwork. In an attempt to improve things, many companies have started considering the idea of stock ownership, but contrary to the expectations, giving workers the possibility to purchase company stocks hasn’t significantly boosted their motivation and engagement. On the other hand, a relatively new concept called “psychological ownership” has shown that even the most disengaged and apathetic employee can undergo a dramatic change and become an MVP if certain methods are implemented. Basically, what’s important is to make employees start feeling that the company is theirs and help them identify with the company. Although this isn’t exactly the easiest goal to achieve, there are some pretty straightforward tactics that can turn a grumpy, passive employees into balls of fire:

  • Autonomy in making decisions about their work is essential for motivating employees. When they feel that their ideas, opinions, and skills are valued enough, people are more willing to put in the extra effort and prove that they’re worth it.  
  • Task identity is another important factor, as employees can be positively impacted and motivated when they can participate throughout the whole project and see the results of their work.

Six degrees of motivation

Self-determination theory deals with motivation, and according to a series of research studies conducted by the University of Rochester psychologists Edward L. Deci and Richard Ryan, our need to work can be boiled down to six reasons: play, potential, purpose, emotional purpose, economic purpose, and inertia. The former three factors, or the positive 3 P’s, are the pillars of motivation that company culture can additionally strengthen and utilize in order to encourage productivity and efficiency. The play part of the equation can be encouraged by providing employees with all kinds of training programmes and useful courses that will help them develop professionally. As play is sparked by curiosity and solving challenging problems, the more employees expand their expertise, the more they will enjoy their work. When it comes to potential, the work has to lead to the fulfillment of a higher goal and contribute to developing employees’ identity. So, the possibility to progress and work their way up the ladder is extremely important for employees’ motivation, and they should be aware that their hard work will be rewarded. Finally, a company that clearly shows its employees how their efforts impact and improve the lives of other people usually has a highly motivated staff. The first step of this process should be explaining the reason why employees are doing all this and how their efforts will help customers.

As corny as it may sound, but employees are the most valuable asset that any company has, so their level of satisfaction and motivation can significantly affect a company’s bottom line.  

Emma Miller is a digital marketer from Sydney. Works as a blogger, Senior Editor for Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends.