Report: ‘Happy employees make happy customers’, so could investing in an intra-brand community benefit your bottom line?

Baker Tilly Report: A new perspective on Employee Engagement

Happy employees make happy customers…

…yet it is not always that simple. Employees represent a company and its brand; their interactions with shop-goers have long been considered the ‘moment of truth’ for customers. Ensuring employee engagement at the workplace is a critical task for any retailer. In the current adverse economic climate this is increasingly challenging as firms must increase performance and employees must go above and beyond their job description, delivering excellence in service in order to create customer brand loyalty and, in the long run, competitive advantage. Easier said than done.

Customer engagement has long been the holy grail of consumer businesses and one of the most recognised methods to achieve this is through the concept of brand communities, in other words groups of customers bound by a strong loyalty towards the brand.

If brand communities are such a potent phenomenon in the customer context, why wouldn’t they also have impact on the key group within your organisation – your employees.

Research has shown that employees belonging to a strong intra-organisational brand community are more engaged, with those communities acting as an additional motivator for employees to deliver better results for the business through higher sales and profits.

If this is the case, how can your retail business benefit?

By investing in your intra-brand community you may see the following positive behaviours:

  • Employees go ‘above and beyond’ their job role
  • Greater display of community citizenship behaviours
  • Increased brand loyalty
  • Improved accuracy in delivering the brand message
  • More genuine and enthusiastic brand ambassadors.

By approaching engagement through a community based approach, you can raise the level of employee performance. As the saying goes, happy employees make happy customers. If employee engagement is regularly approached as a community-based phenomenon, sustainable employee engagement is accomplished. In this way, happy employees lead to happy customers and better employees.

In a year-long research project, Baker Tilly, in collaboration with a team of business students from the University of Bath, recognised this potential and examined the characteristics of intra-organisational brand communities. By analysing the store environment of two major and successful British clothing retailers, the researchers were able to understand and analyse the characteristics of these employee communities.

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