5 Ways to Align Employees with Your Brand and Business Goals

Updated: May 13, 2010

Last weekend I visited our local UPS Store to mail a simple package. Standard-sized box, basic shipping. When I arrived it was just me and the guy behind the counter, but just a couple minutes later there were five people behind me.

Long story short, the employee started complaining. Out loud. Not about the fact that his co-worker was taking his lunch, but the fact that there were customers in the store, waiting to give him money.

A direct quote: "20 minutes ago it was just fine in here, but now all you guys just had to come and ship packages, didn't you?"

I admire UPS. They've built an impressive business, and have been given high praise in a variety of formats (books, newspaper articles, business journals, etc.) for their smart approach to product strategy, customer service and more.

How frustrating would it be if you'd put so much work into your company's strategy, policies, brand and more - only to have it broken at the tactical/operational level by one employees? Ten years ago, this might have impacted a handful of people. Today, thanks to the social Web, it can impact millions.

It's nearly impossible to create and sustain a 100% consistent operation, especially when work and execution is distributed. But there are things any business can do to help align all employees (even on the front lines) with corporate goals and brand guidelines.

  • Reward employees for customer feedback: Make it easy to collect customer feedback, and track comments back to the originating location or even individual employee. Reward those with consistently high scores
  • Make your goals transparent: Zingerman's in Ann Arbor boasts that their dish washers know not just what profit margin means, but also what the organizational margin goals are. What would happen if you let everyone in your organization in on more of your metrics? Help their managers hold them accountable for helping achieve those metrics, and reward the entire organization when you hit and exceed them.
  • Encourage employees to hold each other accountable: This isn't about "ratting out" your co-workers, but being proud of where you work, the level of service you provide, and creating group accountability (and rewards) for delighting every customer
  • Training: You can't assume every employee will know and follow your guidelines. Train them on what you expect, and revisit those standards often. Publicize exemplary employees for their work to uphold your brand and business standards.
  • Hiring: Make cultural fit a required component of bringing on new employees. Ensure from day one that they will meet and exceed the goals you expect of everyone in the organization.
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