A Quick Look at the Psychology Behind Employee Engagement

A Quick Look at the Psychology Behind Employee Engagement

December 14, 2021

In “The Link Between Internal and External Marketing” we looked at some of the many reasons why communicating your corporate values and marketing goals to all employees, enterprise wide, is just as important as your external marketing efforts. One doesn’t work optimally without the other. Together they drive corporate success. That’s because customer contact happens everywhere—your online chat agent and call-in support lines, your field service people, perhaps your distributors, the receptionist, accounts receivable, and even employees just posting in their personal social media accounts. Yet, often organizations solely focus on their sales team when communicating goals and establishing motivation programs in support of those goals.

Today, we’ll take a quick peek at the psychology behind why employee engagement and rewards programs work. And dip very briefly into a few considerations when setting up those plans.

The Two Core Ideas

Internal marketing aimed at maximizing employee engagement to deliver the brand promise works for two reasons rooted in human psychology.

The first is aspirational. We all want to work for a company we can be proud of. A company of value—with values. A company where your external marketing message has framed an overwhelmingly positive impression in people’s minds. And when the communications to your people builds a direct link between that reputation and their influence on it, it feeds into personal self-esteem.

However, giving people something to be proud of will only get you halfway there. The second reason is even more basic. Your external marketing efforts are designed to convince prospects and customers that the use of your product is in their best interest. Similarly, your people will do something readily when they perceive that it falls into their zone of self-interest.

The Key to Success

Your objective, therefore, should be enterprise-wide alignment of employee communications and rewards with your customer-facing objectives. The key to your success lies in remembering that the things that are important to your customers are the same things that are important to your employees. They want to feel important and appreciated.

A system of recognition and rewards is one way to make them feel valued, important and appreciated. But, to structure your program properly, it must reinforce the corporate values, marketing goals and behaviors you want to see in your employees.

What might that mean in your company? Perhaps it means achieving a new milestone in sales or reducing product returns due to defects.

Perhaps it involves sharing the customer feedback they learned and using it to generate new ideas for your company. But, without a reason for them to apply their brainpower and take the time to come up with those ideas and share them within your organization, will they? And, is it easy for them to do so?

The Starting Point

Whatever your goal, building an enterprise-wide engagement strategy an incentive system designed to recognize and reward those who live the values and extend themselves to deliver the promise. Of course, the rewards must appeal to your employees; communications channels must continuously remind and reinforce those behaviors; you need a tracking system not just so they can monitor their progress towards goal, but so you can track it and make minor adjustments mid-course, if needed.

Then, and only then, if your employee recognition, reward, and incentive systems across your organization are aligned with the behaviors you need to drive, and if people can earn meaningful rewards for exhibiting those behaviors, the results will follow. Ask for a behavior. Watch it happen. Reward it. Watch it again. Reward it again. Every single time.

If that all sounds a bit daunting, no worries. It’s exactly why performance marketing firms exist.

Interested in learning more? We’d love to review how we can help drive employee engagement and customize a rewards program to drive your organization’s success.