This post is the second in a series on Creating a Fiercely Loyal and Engaged Employee Culture. You can read the first post here.
Now that you have a reasonably solid idea on why you want to create this kind of internal culture for your organization, let’s dig into exactly how you can begin to make that happen. I’ll be using my Fierce Loyalty model to help illustrate.
Building Block #1 – Create a Compelling and Exciting Common Interest as Your “Frame”.
Before you say, “Well, they work here. Isn’t that their common interest?”, hit the pause button. Zappos sells shoes by mail order. Lots of companies do that. There’s nothing compelling or exciting about that. Nothing that could serve as the foundation of a legendary culture. And yet they have it.
What common interest frames their community and binds their internal team together so tightly?
Zappos employees are empowered to do whatever it takes to deliver an extraordinary customer experience. There’s no timer running on customer service calls. Hand-written notes are encouraged. Extraordinary measures are rewarded.
More than that though, Zappos empowers its employees by giving them freedom. Freedom of self-expression (I’ve seen their cubicles); freedom on getting the job done (there is a napping room that no one monitors); freedom to come up with and act on their own solutions without having to get permission from management.
These are just a few examples of the way the executive team empowers the entire internal community at Zappos and creates a legendary brand culture in the process. You may not be as large as Zappos or have the resources to create a napping room, but I’m betting you can come up with a compelling and exciting common interest that will pull your team together. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1) Empowerment. Borrow from Zappos and find ways you can empower your employees and give them autonomy.
2) Become Known for a Cause. Maybe there is a cause that naturally lends itself to your organization. Heart disease, homelessness, struggling schools. Choose one (better yet, let your employees choose it), and focus reources on it regularly.
3) Change the face of your industry. Maybe your industry has a lackluster reputation, or worse. Decide your organization is going to turn that reputation on it’s ear.
4) Take on a titan. Nothing binds a community together faster than fighting a common foe. Your organization can commit to outdoing them in some real, achievable way.
5) Ask your team. Rather than guessing and throwing darts at a dart board in hopes of getting it right, gather your team and ask them. They’ll com up with something great you never would’ve thought up on your own.
Spend some time thinking about your frame. You don’t have to perfect it, but you do need a good idea. In the next post, I’ll tell you how to find those employees who might be your “early adopters” and help you get your fiercely loyal and angaged internal community off the ground.