ZOMBIES! Transforming Disengaged Employees Into Trusted Brand Ambassadors

The Walking Dead… The Invasion of the Body Snatchers! Are these just movie titles? Not if you look at Gallup results that show only 13 to 32 percent of employees around the globe are engaged at work! That means a majority of employees are sleepwalking through their day. Zombie employees are haunting businesses to the tune of $450 – $550 billion annually, while organizations with engaged employees outperform those with low engagement by 202%! This zombie invasion is costly because it impacts so many things: productivity, profitability, stress, absenteeism, turnover, morale, happiness, safety incidents, quality, customer ratings, etc.

Shrinking the employee zombie population and converting them into the engaged column is possible and worth the effort, because engagement impacts happiness. Just as negativity is contagious, so is happiness! Studies show that happy employees are productive 80% of the time, while unhappy employees are productive a mere 40% of the time! Happy employees translate into happy customers and a happier balance sheet. As the face of your organization, employees’ attitudes, words and actions greatly impact how your customers and stakeholders experience your company on a daily basis. Their “experience” also drives trust levels. Studies show the more your customers trust you, the more they will buy from you; high-trust organizations outperform low-trust organizations in total shareholder return by 286%.

The first time we were asked to help implement an employee brand ambassador program years ago, the results were extremely rewarding. Word quickly spread that employees were excited and having fun implementing their new ambassador skills and goals. Morale skyrocketed – employees were connecting to the company’s brand in a way they had never connected before. The company had been plagued by litigation in one stakeholder area, but that significantly dropped as their stakeholders developed “real” relationships with “real” people in the organization. An ambassador program builds stakeholder rapport and trust – and trust creates room for new ways of thinking and doing business.

An ambassador program builds stakeholder

rapport and trust – and trust creates room for

new ways of thinking and doing business.

Years after that ambassador program was implemented, the leadership team told us the program had transformed their culture to one that was more open and customer-centric. Their business flourished!

Equipping employees with a well planned and well-executed brand ambassador program will not only grow your brand, but can also protect it during crises. We have witnessed companies with strong ambassador programs weather crises much better than other organizations, due to the stakeholder trust factor.

There are typically 3 major phases involved in putting an Employee Ambassador Program into place:

• Phase 1 – Clarify your program’s goals, link business goals with the program’s vision, identify guidelines, include a social media policy, agree on participation levels, build a recognition program, outreach methods, etc.

• Phase 2 – Create the tools, training and resources your ambassadors need to successfully execute your program.

• Phase 3 – Assess the results, act on feedback and continually improve the program to get the desired results.

An effective ambassador program can help energize your organization with highly engaged employees who are passionate about your brand. In turn, their passion can make a difference in how you connect with stakeholders important to your growth and future. Oh, and you will have to watch movies to see zombies – because they will no longer occupy your office space!