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Strengthen Your Internal Brand

Strengthen your "internal brand" with an integrated motivation program.

Just as marketing and advertising strive to create a deeply ingrained awareness of a company's brand through a series of integrated initiatives, many human resource departments are recognizing the value this same strategic approach has in the promotion of their core values within their organizations. This "internal branding" method instills the company's guiding principles in employees from their first day on the job and seeks to reinforce those principles in varied and inspiring ways each and every day in order to leverage the power of the workforce. Curt Coffman, co-author of the best-selling book on management, First, Break All The Rules, stated in a recent interview with The Gallup Organization that the keys to creating a highly engaged workforce are to "set clear expectations, give employees the right materials, focus on the employee, and recognize your best performers." A well-executed internal branding program addresses all of these elements through the implementation of four distinct initiatives, each of which plays a vital role in the process.

Introduce core values to new employees.

  • Begin establishing your company's emphasis on its core values from their first day on the job with motivational reinforcements they'll encounter each and every day. Affordable desktop accessories including mugs, pen caddies, notepads and other items imprinted with your mission or values provide new hires with a basic guideline on which to base their actions and decisions.
  • Exhibit a strong commitment to your values by giving a gift of a framed desktop print with a motivational message or artwork personalized with your logo and mission statement. Options are available for every size work area.

Provide ongoing reminders throughout the workplace.

Surround your employees with visual motivational reminders that reinforce your core value message throughout the workplace.

  • Reception areas: Greet your employees each morning with a personalized banner or framed mission statement print reminding them of the core values they should use to guide their decision-making throughout their day.
  • Conference rooms and hallways: Eye-catching motivational wall art provides constant reinforcement of key messages. Tailor your art selection to each workspace. For example, stress the importance of goals or focus in a conference room, the value of determination or perseverance in offices, work stations and hallways, and the significance of work/life balance or perspective in a cafeteria or lunchroom.
  • Individual workspaces: Taking the opportunity to reiterate your values in each employees' "personal space" helps to encourage ownership in those values. Framed desktop artwork, personalized desktop accessories and stress relievers are excellent choices.

Use rewards and recognition to further define core values.

Expand your awards program beyond the traditional once-a-year award ceremony with frequent and diverse recognition opportunities. This on-going approach helps to define your core values by publicly recognizing specific performances and behaviors that clearly support them.

  • On-the-spot recognition provides instant affirmation of contributions that exemplify core values. Effective and affordable pins, medallions and keychains help keep core values top-of-mind and create positive energy through an awareness that recognition can come at any time.
  • Progressive award programs have been shown to enhance the performance of both recipients and their co-workers. A monthly award plaque sets the bar for excellence by establishing top performers as standard bearers for the core values. The visibility and frequent regularity of a perpetual award creates an on-going focus on excellence and offers an inclusive opportunity for every employee, even the newest hire, to earn recognition.
  • Year-end awards are powerful tools for establishing your internal brand. When reserved for key contributors in each department who consistently exemplify your core values, they provide a definitive clarification of your values that all employees can follow. An official presentation ceremony underscores the company's commitment to those values and to those individuals who commit themselves to upholding them. With thousands of customizable award designs available, be sure to choose one that matches your corporate values.

Offer personalized reinforcement.

Management's direct support of your core values strengthens and personalizes your internal branding initiative.

  • Acknowledge special contributions, holidays or personal milestones with notecards reinforcing core values through both inspirational imagery and messaging. Personalize them with your company logo, name and/or unique corporate message. A handwritten card or note can have a significant impact on the acceptance and internalization of your corporate values.
  • Create a company-exclusive annual award that specifically reinforces your core values while providing personalized recognition of on-going dedication to those values. Presentation of the award by a key executive helps to underscore the importance of both the award and the core values.

Administered individually, each one of these initiatives can have a positive effect in the development of your organization's core values. Aligning all four of these methods in a strategic promotional approach, however, puts you on the path to creating an intrinsically understood "internal brand" that will guide your employees to higher performance and your company to greater unity and success.