New Blog Series: How to Effectively Launch an Employee Brand Engagement Program
Over the next 11 weeks I plan to share ideas that will provide insight on how to launch a compelling employee brand engagement program. I will cover budgeting, due diligence and discovery, identifying a clear strategy and goals, developing a sequential process to build momentum, how to create message architecture that is relevant, the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?), creative/visual representation of an idea, establishing recognition and reward systems and programs, program management, communication metrics and ROI, and finally how to create sustainability and building momentum.
Here’s the first of 11 blog post installments – Step 1: Budgeting
Unless your brand engagement program has a significant budget, it will never make the impact necessary to change your employees’ behavior. Money talks. It is no different for advertising and marketing. So where should the budget come from?
Typically, money for employee value propositions comes from HR or Diversity and Inclusion departments, while brand engagement/alignment activities come from Marketing and/or Brand departments. Change management initiatives such as software implementation usually come from the sponsoring organization such as IT or Finance.
The next question is, how much money should be set aside for an effective employee brand engagement program? All too often employee brand engagement is an afterthought rather than a strategic initiative like an external advertising program. Employee engagement budgets are often built into the operating budget rather than into a marketing budget which is a big mistake. When this occurs it is necessary to find funding sources each time a program is launched. We have an iconic brand client who would like to do a customer service internal communications program with their employees, however, a budget has never been identified or allocated for this initiative. As a result, the client is finding that no one is prepared to step up and relinquish a portion of his or her operating budget to fund the program. The client has said to me, “it’s like walking around here with a tin cup asking for donations”.
Internal employee brand engagement programs should be budgeted annually either as a percentage of sales, a percent of the overall marketing budget or by allocation by headcount. For instance, if the average revenue is $100 million an allocation of 1% would be $1 million set aside for employee brand engagement. Obviously, the percentages and the revenue are all variable.
Another easy way to allocate a budget is simply to identify a flat rate allocation for every employee. So if you allocate a minimum of five dollars for every employee and if you have 250,000 employees, that would translate to $1,250,000 allocated for employee brand engagement.
No matter how you arrive at your budget allocation, there should be sufficient money to allocate a third for planning, a third for implementation/execution and a third for maintaining and sustaining the program over time.
In our next installment in our 11 part series I will be discussing due diligence and discovery.
Are you challenged to identify a budget for your employee engagement initiative? Feel free to contact me for more strategies on building and safeguarding your program budget.