Employee engagement is DEAD

[For those of you sick of iPhone-itis, you may want to skip this post. And I promise I won’t do more than one a week MAX on the subject!]

John at Brand Autopsy highlights a really interesting angle on the iPhone launch that I hadn’t heard of:

"Apple is giving all its full-time U.S.-based employees an iPhone. 
I am a huge proponent of companies spending marketing money on employees.  It’s simple. Astonish employees and they will, in turn, astonish customers.
Giving every full-time employee a $600 (retail value) iPhone is an
astonishing act that will only help to feed the already vibrant
evangelical corporate culture within Apple."

That’s right. Not a free t-shirt, crappy plastic backpack or pen.

A $600, sell-your-grandmother-to-get-your-hands-on-one-of-those iPhones. How do I get a job there? Just think of the word-of-mouth. The envious looks from friends. The "why doesn’t my company give me cool stuff like that?" comments.

This is another example that’s got me thinking that the whole idea of employee engagement is DEAD. The key to creating engaged employees is to have a bloody brilliant product or service. Apple don’t need to communicate with their people. They just need to give them an iPhone. I posted last month about Dyson featuring their product in recruitment advertising. Same idea. Brilliant product = turned on employees. And think of  Pret-a-Manger, innocent, method, Harley Davidson…. people who work in these places are motivated because they love the stuff they sell.


And there is good hard data to back this up. I posted on research by Interbrand showing that the biggest driver of pride in the company was working on "products and services are seen as the best", and that in turn, proud employees were more loyal, put in extra effort and recommend the company’s products and services.

So. Forget that fancy event, or sophisticated new internal communication programme. Work on the reason your company exists in the first place: to make a product or service that blows the socks of your customers, and employees.

Don’t try to engage your employees. BE an ENGAGING BRAND.