The Internet and our fast-paced, highly digital lifestyles have changed the exposure level of organizations.
Everything we do is visible, talked about, and reviewed. Every employee is a spokesperson. Every interviewee is a potential reviewer. Every customer is a potential referral. But instead of being scared by that idea, we need to embrace the concept of culture, community, and communication to create modern organizations that celebrate these new levels of transparency.
A brand is now more than a calculated strategic process. It’s an organic reflection of the organization’s beliefs, actions, and partnerships. Employee posts to social media are a greater reflection of identity than simply the color of the logo. It is essential that business leaders start looking holistically at key attributes of an organization’s lifecycle not just for customer and client engagement, but also for the employee or potential recruit as well.
Not to get too philosophical here, but these concepts are based on the anthropological ideas of ethos and meaning that form a shared culture. And our cultures have become our brands.
Beyond Bean Bags And Ping Pong
A new realization of the importance of the work environment isn’t limited to the world of high-tech anymore. It’s permeating organizations in every market segment.
And yes, it’s especially attractive to younger employees, Gen Y and Millennials, for whom the boundaries between the personal and professional are more fluid than for previous generations. They expect to be inspired, to have fun, and to collaborate. Moreover, they expect the work environment to be flexible and customizable to reflect their personality and style. But don’t we all?
Progressive organizations have come to realize that interior workspaces ought to look and feel like the brand culture the company wants to project. Space is no longer just something you work in; it’s something you interact with.
The first question to ask is: What is the “brand personality” that should be embraced? Fun? Quirky? Professional? Creative? But in addition to reflecting the nature or “form” of the brand, a careful consideration of function is also essential to create an environment that allows employees to work at their highest rate of efficiency, whether they’re in heads-down, small or large collaboration, or presentation mode.
It’s no longer enough to simply distribute internal communications describing the organization’s vision, mission, values, and so on. That’s a given. But it’s basically a top-down strategy. The transformation that’s occurring in the modern workspace is having that brand spirit saturate the environment in which people work every day. It’s where top-down and bottom-up merge for a seamless experience of the brand culture by both internal groups like staff members and external groups like customers.
Engaged, motivated, happy workers are an organization’s best brand advocates. This is an exciting and invigorating time to bring the working environment in alignment with the overall brand. And who should be at the center of it all? Do you really have to ask?