Online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos.com is well-known for its unique and successful corporate culture. It’s also doing a great job of living up to its own brand promise which involves an entire company built around the overall customer experience.
Understandably, it takes a special kind of employee to make a go of it at Zappos. And as important as corporate culture is to Zappos, they invest a great deal making sure the kind of people they employ align personally with the brand they profess.
To this end, Zappos pays employees the equivalent of three month’s severance if they feel the company, its culture and management style are not for them. Why is this, and, more importantly, why would Zappos actually pay for employees to leave them?
The answer comes back to brand. Marketers spend tons of time, energy and money developing and implementing brands. But the brand is only as good as the employees that deliver it in front of consumers every day. If you have a terrific brand but employees that don’t get it or just don’t care, what you have is a brand gap. And a brand gap is a substantial detriment to your overall brand efforts.
For example, we have worked with several clients on brand audits who were convinced upon our arrival that their employees were all on board with the brand. However, mystery shops during the audit process sometimes prove otherwise. Sometimes these mystery shop show that employees are uneducated, untrained or even disinterested in the brand, let alone living in front of people.
Now think about your own bank or credit union. How much time and effort do you spend onboarding new employees, not only to educate them on your unique brand but to ensure that they are actually a good fit for your culture? Probably not nearly enough time.
Obviously, not every bank or credit union can afford to pay employees thousands of dollars to not work there. But what you can do is keep a keen eye on new staff during their onboarding process. If it becomes obvious they are not a good fit for your culture (or, conversely, that your culture is not a good fit for them) it is best to cut ties early. If your employees, from the C-suite to the front line, can’t live up to your brand promise, it’s best that you both part ways early to save future headache and expense.
Your staff brand personality must match your corporate brand personality. This is something successful retailers like Zappos understand and work to their advantage. Your bank or credit union should follow this example.