The “Great Resignation” is upon us. Connecting with employees is vital for businesses


Marketing and human resources departments must work together to build the brand and uphold its values ​​consistently across the company. Both departments regularly measure the impact of their efforts against objective metrics, such as retention levels, and make adjustments.

The goal is to convince employees not only to stay, but to want to become brand ambassadors. But what makes a brand compelling enough for employees to achieve this level of engagement? We recently surveyed 1,500 employees in the United States at companies generating more than $ 1 billion in revenue to find out. We found that less than a third of employees feel fully engaged today.

Next, we looked at the elements of brands that employees value the most. We asked respondents to rate 27 statements about their current employee experience, and then used statistical analysis to explore the relationship between these statements in relation to their employers’ income growth and their stated intention to leave their business. We then compared these results to previous diagnoses of the variables that make brands successful with consumers.

Brands that align with connection, progress and a commitment to employee development are viewed positively by employees and consumers. While 72 percent of employees felt their employer was not meeting all three, for the few employers who did, 90 percent of their employees said they intended to stay.

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Of course, many companies have tapped into any of these to retain talent in the past. But our research shows that improvements on all three elements are needed to reduce sales in today’s environment. Here’s why all three qualities are important:


Employees who love the brands they work for are often inspired by the mission, values ​​and services provided by their company. They feel a strong bond with their company, especially if the internal culture reflects the values ​​that companies promote externally. When employees feel valued, supported and inspired, they go to great lengths to make a business successful.

Employee enthusiasm for a brand can be a competitive advantage for a company within an industry. We’ve seen airlines, where employees feel connected to their brand, have one-fifth as many consumer complaints as competitors with more adversarial labor relationships, even though the airlines have nearly identical records for cancellations. and lost baggage.

These strong bonds can be forged by not only clarifying a company’s mission, but also having everyone from the CEO exemplify it to ensure that employees feel that mission personally. Leadership teams also need to empower employees to make decisions for the myriad of conditions that a rulebook can never predict and back them up if the intention to align with the company’s brand is right, even if the execution is faulty.


Our research shows that employees are also looking to get ahead in their lives. They want to be proud to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and that means the company’s accomplishments are known and appreciated by the people whose opinions matter to the employee. Employees need to see their work celebrated publicly, their careers supported, and they need to know that their friends and family admire the company they work for. However, only 44% of those polled in our brand study felt that their employers had actually made progress.

Responding to the employee’s need for progress means convincing them that their company’s products or services make a positive contribution to society. Our study also showed that employees prefer to work for brands that support them in implementing their “full self at work”, working “as I wish”, with “progress towards career goals”.

Commitment to employee development

Finally, employees want to work for employers who help them perform at their best and who reward them when they do. For example, in a bank, we worked with authorized employees to help clients with problems in different departments. This involved focusing on the importance of maintaining customer relationships across all areas of the bank and giving employees digital tools that helped them do so.

Our survey showed that only half of employees feel supported to perform at their best, even though 77% of companies said in a separate study We saw the events of 2020 as an opportunity to move towards more unsupervised working arrangements.

Faced with this, some companies go so far as to “dislodge” their employees to increase their strength and take on more responsibilities. A pharmaceutical company we advise has turned to a culture without control to drive innovation and engagement by flattening its structure. As part of the new organizational design of the company, managers are rewarded for encouraging employees to stay curious, focus on innovation and self-management. It is about enabling employees to better recognize their skills and their value.

A way forward

Managers need to recognize that the Great Resignation is not just a short-term issue, but potentially a long-term opportunity to build competitive advantage by retaining and attracting top talent.

The most successful brands in employee retention align with employee connection, progress and development, and provide appropriate incentive systems. They convince people not only to stay in their jobs, but also become motivated to devote themselves fully to a company’s mission. Companies that harness the power of brands to give meaning and agency to their employees will be better able to serve their clients and, as a result, achieve higher bottom line growth.

David R. Mayer, Senior Partner, Lippincott, Oliver Wyman’s Creative Brand and Innovation Consulting

Kate bravery, Global Advisory and Insight Leader, Mercer (MMC)

This article originally appeared on the World Economic Forum (WEF). You can read it here.

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