The economy is at one of its lowest points in history. People are losing their jobs as corporate profits tumble. Companies are asking for and getting bailouts to stay afloat. What’s a luxury carmaker like Jaguar Land Rover to do? Ask its employees for help – that’s what.
I’m always talking to any business owner who will listen about how leveraging the strength of employees as brand advocates is one of the most powerful marketing and branding tools a company can have. Loyal employees are extremely vocal about the companies and brands they work for, and nothing is as powerful as word-of-mouth marketing in terms of retaining customers and finding new ones.
Jaguar Land Rover took a huge step in nurturing employees as brand advocates this year. When the company realized it needed to cut back, executives turned to employees and asked them to vote for the option the company should pursue to stay on track financially. In the end, employees decided to reduce their work weeks (and pay) from 5 days to 4 at the company’s plants. This would save jobs and give the company the money it needed. Also, bonuses were eliminated and pay was frozen. In return, the company promised there would be no mandatory job cuts for the next two years.
In total, 15,000 U.K.-based employees cast their votes on the cost-cutting measures and 70% of union members accepted the final deal. While it’s terrible that the economy is in the toilet and anyone should have to make this kind of deal at all, at least the employees are included in the decision-making process and asked to buy into the final plan. That’s a much better way to retain and nurture brand advocates than force-feeding a plan that hurts employees’ livelihoods and makes them feel like they work for a dictatorship. While the corporate bureaucracy is certainly not a democracy, it’s nice to hear that Jaguar Land Rover made an effort to achieve a bipartisanship agreement. Now, if only the U.S. government could do the same thing.
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