Most organizations understand the importance of branding, but few companies apply its principles to their internal culture and engagement practices. We’ve asked Ceridian Chief Human Resources Officer Sara Hill to share her insights and expertise in the area of internal brand. 

Insight into Internal Brand: Q&A with Ceridian Chief HR Officer Sara Hill

Most organizations understand the importance of branding, but few companies apply its principles to their internal culture and engagement practices. We’ve asked Ceridian Chief Human Resources Officer Sara Hill to share her insights and expertise in the area of internal brand.

 

About Sara Hill

sara-hill-headshot-article.jpgAs chief human resources officer, Sara is responsible for Ceridian's global human resources strategy, which includes building company culture, increasing employee engagement, and developing people strategies to further the Ceridian mission. She joined the company in August 2012 at Ceridian’s headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn. Previously she held positions at U.S. Bancorp, Fidelity Investments and The Hay Group.

 

Q: Before we launch into the importance of engagement, can you explain the term internal brand?
A: First let’s define the term brand. A brand is a compelling idea that captures people’s attention and generates loyalty to an organization. The company’s brand conveys consistent values and acts as a guide for making decisions.

An internal brand is the representation of the organization’s values and the shared feeling employees have about working at the organization. In order for employees to truly support the external brand, they must be passionate about the organization and what it represents. When these factors come to fruition, your internal brand begins to develop.

 

Q: Why is internal brand so important?
A: Employees are the key to a company’s success, which is why your internal culture must match the brand you develop for customers. Happy employees make happy customers, and happy customers make a successful business. It is imperative that companies dedicate time and energy to their internal brand strategy so that the internal excitement about the organization matches the external buzz.

 

Q: What are the benefits of an internal brand?
A: An internal brand helps the organization articulate its values, drive employee engagement, increase loyalty and decrease turnover. To attain these benefits, the organization’s leaders must nurture the excitement that drives employees’ passion for the company.

 

Q: How does internal brand affect employee engagement?
A: Internal branding efforts feed employee engagement. If you continually remind people why it’s great to work for the organization and the impact of their efforts, then they will stay with the organization. For example, McDonald’s recently created an internal advertising campaign to change the negative perception of working at the company. By highlighting the benefits of working at the fast food chain, McDonald’s increased employee engagement and morale.

 

Q: If a company wants to improve its brand, how should they start the process?
A: Before you start working on your internal brand, you first need to assess the morale and engagement of employees and understand what employees value.  This can happen in many ways, one of which is to conduct an employee engagement survey.  A survey will help you define your current culture by gathering employee feedback on what is working and what can be improved. The survey also provides insight into whether employees’ perceptions, values and goals match those of the company. If there is a discrepancy between the two, the employee survey will provide guidance on how to shift the culture of the organization.

 

Q: Can you share an example of an activity or program that can help improve employee engagement?
A: We live in a society that has melded together the demands of both work and life. There is no longer a work-life balance but what I refer to as a work-life fit. Since everyone brings work to their lives and their lives to work, employees need to be fully supported by their employer.

One way this support can be achieved is by offering an employee assistance program (EAP). This program helps communicate to employees the value the company places on creating a community that helps employees no matter what their needs. In fact, a survey of participants of Ceridian’s EAP program LifeWorks found that:

  • 76% reported reduced stress
  • 62% reported improved productivity
  • 65% reported missing less work
  • 68% reported being more likely to stay with their employer

 

For more information:

Watch Ceridian’s webinar featuring Sara Hill speaking on internal brand & employee engagement

Learn about Ceridian LifeWorks Employee Assistance and Work-Life Programs

View a Ceridian video on employee engagement solutions