San Jose PayPals are Not Brandful

Soon after writing my last blog post, PayPal’s President, David Marcus, did exactly what I had advised not to do. He threatened his employees to use PayPal products or leave the company.  While that is one way to transform your workforce into a brandful one, it is not what I recommend.

I commend Marcus for being on the forefront of understanding the value that his workforce brings to the success of his company. Most CEOs do not rely enough on their employees to build the brand. In an email to his “San Jose PayPals” he asserts: “everyone at PayPal should use our products where available. That’s the only way we can make them better, and better.” This kind of executive mindset is exactly what’s needed in any organization that wants to build or sustain a brandful workforce. However, how you do it, needs to be effective and genuine.

Let’s not forget, people are not only rational, but emotional human beings. While it may seem simple: “Just tell them what you want them to do,” it doesn’t work that way. Last year, I wrote about the emergence and growing importance of the field of organizational psychology to the corporation. It brings something to the table that the traditional MBA approach misses: feelings. And yes, we all have them.

What PayPal needs to do is better understand why the employees in San Jose are not as brandful as those in other locations. Marcus says they don’t use PayPal or refer business nearly as much as the rest of the employees, who are so passionate about PayPal that they even hack into vending machines to make them accept PayPal. Trying to change behavior without understanding it does not make sense. Hey, I get that businesses need to move quickly, but consider the consequences of doing it the wrong way.

I tried reaching out to Marcus to see if I could help. tuned and I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can read an article and the full email he sent out.

Check out more Brandful Workforce blog posts or download the book, The Brandful Workforce: How Employees Can Make, Not Break Your Brand, on your kindle app.

Will Email Be Dead in 5 Years?

Will Email Be Dead in 5 Years?

What does that have to do with a brandful workforce? I stumbled across this video of internal communication professionals, who talk about the need for organizations to open up their communication channels. They say that “technology has blurred the lines between internal and external communication” and organizations can learn from their employees. They mention that social networking could replace email as a main channel of communication, and that the workforce has the power to transform the way we do business. It’s incredible to imagine the potential power of the workforce (for good or bad). The sooner organizations realize this, the more likely they’ll be able to take actions that will help their brand, rather than hurt it. What do you think? Check out the video here – if you don’t have 13 minutes to view it, skip to minute 10:45 to see the ending.

If this is your first time on my blog, please check out my other posts – all on a brandful workforce- where employees promote the brand!

Performance Inspired Features Brandful As Guest Blog

My colleagues at Performance Inspired, an Atlanta-based consulting and training firm that helps organizations elevate performance through the science of inspiration (see Forbes America’s 25 Most Inspiring Companies List), has featured the Brandful Workforce approach on their blog this month. A brandful workforce is one that promotes the brand of the organization. The impact that employees are having on the brand is increasing, especially with the rise of social media. The full approach on how you can build a brandful workforce, or be part of one, can be reviewed in my book, The Brandful Workforce. The world of branding is changing. Click here for the blog and to keep up!

LinkedIn Gets Brandful

I’m on the hunt for as many examples of organizations who are going “brandful.” This means that employees are promoting the brand. Many folks do not realize the huge impact that employees can have on the branding of the company. Today I found that LinkedIn, the well-known social media site that employees over 3,000 folks around the globe, started a contest to get its employees involved in the brand. Under the brandful workforce model, stage 2 – getting employees involved, I talk about employee programs such as contests. (For more information on my model, please see my book – The Brandful Workforce.) Already LinkedIn has received submissions from employees. If you have other examples, please send them my way! Click here for the article.

Overview of Brandful™ Workforce

A workforce can work “for” or “against” the brand. A brandful™ workforce charges forward FOR the brand. There are two significant global changes that support the call to action for organizations to consider early adoption of building a brandful™ workforce:

1.   The end of organizational control over brand.

With the rise in social media and access to information, individuals are able to have greater impact, both positively and negatively on organizations. Social media empowers more to participate in the brand conversation. It creates greater pressure for organizations to be transparent about their products, services, operations, mission, and strategy.

2.   Fierce local and global competition.

Organizations are forced to continually re-examine their approach and must act smarter than ever before to sustain an advantage. One of the most under-leveraged assets in any organization is the workforce. It can no longer be seen as an expense in terms of wages and benefits. If viewed strategically, the employees of any size organization (private, public, nonprofit or governmental) could be a critical factor for organizational success.

Is your organization fully leveraging your people to create, re-invent, grow and sustain your brand? The answer most likely is no. Is it possible to have employees who genuinely and truly love the products and services they help deliver? The answer is yes and here’s how you can get started.

First, you must have a successful business model. No employee is going to be interested in promoting an organization that is going down the tubes.  You may think this is obvious however it amazes me how many organizations, because of the departmental silos, overlook this point. For example, a leader in one part of the organization such as Corporate Communications, Human Resources or Marketing, may hear the buzz that employees should be more involved in the brand, so they skip immediately to how to involve them, without considering the state of the business. Have you ever stopped to think how the internal operations might look differently if the business model is not working? Creating, evolving and sustaining a successful business model can be difficult, particularly because of a fast- evolving, globally shrinking competitive landscape. However, this basic fundamental step is a “must-have” for building a brandful™ workforce.

Part of the business model is also a “call to action” or a greater purpose that the organization is fulfilling. When I was at JetBlue, it was “bringing humanity back to air travel.” We weren’t just transporting people from point A to point B but there was a higher purpose. Employees, who truly promote the product or service of an organization, and act as individual owners of the organization, need an emotional connection or an inspiration, if they are going to be brandful™.

Second, you need a clear and executable customer promise and employee promise. These promises answer the question: What am I promising to deliver to my customer/employee in exchange for what my customer/employee give me? It’s kind of like matchmaking, where the organization is looking for a long-term relationship with the right customer match and the right employee match. Both customers and employees have expectations that go hand-in-hand. Employees need to know the customer expectations so they stand a chance to deliver on these – or even better- delight! They also need to know what’s expected of them and what they get in return, so that it matches what they can/want to do and what they want to get out of it. Simultaneously, with so many choices of products and services, customers need to know what they are getting for the price they pay, so they can make a decision. Most organizations have defined customer promises, however the majority do not have clear employee promises and thus would not be well-positioned to have brandful employees.  If the mindset is: “anyone can work here in exchange for a paycheck” (ie. There is no employee promise), then you are not fully participating in the matchmaking that needs to take place.

Third, all of the items above must be executed according to plan, aligned and integrated. Basically, your organization needs to walk the talk, be genuine and run a successful and inspirational operation. If there are flaws with your execution, it may be simple to assess, however you can always use data analysis to better pinpoint the hot spots. I’m a big fan of surveys, however they must ask the right questions and they need to be implemented with the assistance of an organizational psychologist who has serious expertise in surveys and human behavior.

It sounds so simple, yet most organizations do not pass these fundamentals. If you try to build a brandful workforce without these, you will build a workforce that bashes your brand, instead of promotes it.  I met someone in the business of training employees on how to blog – to promote the company.  My question is: “What if the employees hate the company’s product?” They will be trained in how to spread the word, but not in a good way.

Once you pass the fundamentals, then we can consider involving employees in the brand…because they now have something to get excited about. There are several areas in which they should be organically involved such as corporate citizenship, communications, celebrations, recruiting other brandful employees, and other employee programs.  The idea here is that nothing is mandatory and there are no incentives (carrots). Employees, at this point, get involved because they are already genuinely passionate….for real.

What if my workforce really doesn’t care about the products or services?  You have to start somewhere. Have a “brandful” recruiting platform so at least you can start brining in new folks who are a true match to your employee promise and really are passionate about your brand. Then, work to change or transition the current folks to better organizational matches – where they can be brandful. If done correctly, they will thank you for it.

Capital Analytics – Guest Blog

I am happy to be featured as a guest blogger, or “guest-thought-leader” as they so nicely call it, for Capital Analytics. I joined the advisory board to lend some expertise to this growing organization which provides advanced analytics in the area of human capital – or the workforce. When I built the People Analytics function at JetBlue, I faced many challenges. It was quite an exciting time and before analytics exploded in the field of Human Resources. We learned a lot, took risks, explored a new frontier. In the end, we were able to set up an incredible database of information – ready to answer those timely questions about the workforce, with the top executives. I enjoy sharing my experiences with the other board members and the executive team of Capital Analytics. Check out my guest blog to learn more about how I started The Brandful Workforce from an analytics background. And don’t forget to click around on the Capital Analytics site to learn about their thoughtful and bottom-line approach to human capital measurement. Here is my blog.