Maximizing an emotional connection with customers can pay off significantly. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that launched products or messaging that elicited an emotional response experienced substantial growth in market share. Now, business leaders are using this winning strategy to engage employees as well.
REI, the country’s largest specialty consumer co-op and outdoor retailer, is doing just that with its #OptOutside campaign. REI CEO Jerry Stritzke recently announced the company’s decision to pay its 12,000 employees to take off on Black Friday. Even the company’s online store will be closed for business on retail’s biggest day of the year. Stritzke says the company is encouraging the country to join #OptOutside and reconnect with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday. “Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the essential truth that life is richer, more connected and complete when you choose to spend it outside,” he explains.
REI’s much-lauded decision aims to create experiences that its customers and employees value. In fact, shortly after the announcement, #OptOutside was trending among both groups. Here are three ways you can take REI’s lead and connect with employees on an emotional level:
Be open to new ideas. REI’s unique approach to Black Friday came as the result of challenging employees to suggest ways the company could be more authentic.
Be empathetic. Create a culture of loyalty by showing employees that you care about them and understand their needs.
Be in sync. Find a common cause that matches the ideals of both your employees and your organization.
For more information on this topic, download VTLO’s tip sheet, Five Tips to Build Trust and Engage Employees.