We were reminded about the sign Albert Einstein had hanging in his office:
“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
We’re not here to say that the measurable dynamics of employee engagement don’t count.
But we do believe that what really counts in employee engagement can’t really be counted.
That’s because employees are inevitably driven by how they feel.
There’s nothing strange in that; all rational thought and action is driven by emotions.
So what drives how employees feel?
More important, what aspects of an employee’s emotional spectrum can a brand credibly expect to influence?
A brand can’t reasonably expect to influence all the feelings that an employee carries into the office on any given morning.
But it can influence a set of “mega feelings” about what working for the brand means.
It can do this by having a clearly stated – and actively pursued – reason for being that is aspirational in nature and which employees can see themselves actively fulfilling both individually and as part of the team.
This seemingly simple notion – to have a driving idea – makes the brand emotionally relevant to its employees and paves the way to making a brand strategy more understandable for them.
At the same time, the brand can decide the unique way it wants to leave people feeling.
For employees, these brand-specific feelings will be evoked through the physical environment they work in, the policies and proceedures they work to, the intent, attitudes and behavior of their superiors, peers and reports and the special events and experiences the brand brings to its employees.
This feeling-based behavior – defined by an emotional space the brand desires to own – makes the brand emotionally important to its employees.
Standing apart from the mix of feelings employees naturally bring into the workplace, a brand’s “mega feelings” give employees more reasons to care about the success of the brand, the role of their personal contribution and the nature of their work experience.
We’re guessing it’s impossible to accurately measure these “mega feelings” simply because feelings operate on an unconscious level.
But for those who need numbers to prove efficacy, we believe that all other measurable factors typically included in employee engagement research will show positive improvement when employees have “mega feelings” for your brand.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco branding agency.