Employee engagement can be a great Marketing tool | Interview with Bala

Employee engagement can be a great Marketing tool | Interview with Bala

Do you believe that employee engagement can be a great marketing tool that can become your brand's voice? Well, that’s yes.

In this episode, we have Bala from Vuram.com, who strongly believes that if you treat an employee in a good manner and engage with them regularly, they become a game changer for the organization.

He mainly highlighted

  • If you give opportunities to showcase employees and their expertise, then they can enhance brand awareness and nourish a culture of innovation.
  • Why it is crucial for organizations to position their workers to become the brand's voice and how it enhances productivity and job satisfaction.
  • How nurturing employees as the advocates of their roles promotes people-driven and trust-based marketing communications.
  • How to hire people who fit into the culture?

 

Here is the detailed transcription.

Sam

All right. Hello everyone. In this episode, we are going to invite Mr. Bala from Vuram.com, and he's going talk about marketing and definitely more about the people-centric organization that how people can help increase your brand awareness and to increase your, you know, maybe like culture and everything, right? So, let's, let's welcome, uh, Bala. Bala, welcome to the, So,

Bala

Yeah. Thank you so much, Sam.

Sam

So, Bala, let's introduce yourself, your company and what exactly your company is doing. What is your role in the company, and how are you making a difference in the company?

Bala

Absolutely. Yes. So say I'm part of a company called Vuram. Yeah. Vuram has been in place. It was founded in the year 2011, and we are 12 year old organization as of today. And the USP of this organization is that very, very people-centric.

And I, myself, Bala, and I'm the director of marketing at Vuram. Um, so I joined this company three years back, and which is when we started to create marketing as a contribution from scratch. And today, we are, you know, a lean and high-performance team.

You know, credits to the company, credits to the people too, because, you know, end of day, this company is very, very special for the simple reason that this is very, very people-centric. And this company truly believes in the fact that without people who are missing nothing, the company is nothing.

See if you take this company, the weight has grown. It has grown organically, believes and bounds over the last, you know, uh, eight to nine years before, even without a sales and a marketing division, just purely based on the, uh, the professionalism performance of people, and, uh, because of the performance, because of the involvement and the passion that people have shown. Right.

The company has grown in belief and the first eight years of the company. Ok. And, uh, if you look at the way the policies are rolled out in this company, right, globally, uh, how the policies are rolled out if just turn the pages of history, everything boils down to as small idea at a spark that a particular employee, one employee has suggested to the organization. Okay. That was considered, right, evaluated once the feasibility has been checked, it had been rolled out as a company-wide policy, not just one or two. We have several policies that we can code, which started as just one idea from One Mind.

Yeah. The, the way the company performs or works, Right? Um, it's purely participative in this, which means very inclusive. By the way, all the people of the company, we refer to ourselves as mites or people. We do not use the word employees or we do not use the word resources here.

Okay, again our HR department is not the HR department; it's the people department.

Sam

People department, Okay. Yeah. That's actually a new trend. <laugh>. Yeah,

Bala

Yeah. So I mean, I was talking about the inclusivity factor, right? So whether it is a day-to-day decision that has been on how to run the company on a daily basis or a business-level decision, right? Everywhere people are involved, people's opinions are taken into consideration in the form of pulse checks and surveys, right? And based on the directions they receive through such kinds of surveys and checks, Right.

Improvements and feedback loops are added, and accordingly, the next steps are taken. Right, Okay. The business. Yeah. For example, during the Covid, of course, no, the entire world was stuck by it, so I Got it.

How the company should be running during covid time is something where, you know, people's inputs, recollected form of surveys and pulse checks, and based on those pulse checks and based on the ideas that came out, a couple of policies hold out, which are very, very beneficial for our people. Very, very centric because innovation comes from people, not from management.

Yeah. And yeah, one last thing is proven, putting for the last five years in a row, we have been identified and recognized by the Great Place to Work Institute as a great place to work. And consistently, we have, we are, uh, if you look at 2022, this year's ranking, we have been identified as ranked number 52 among the top hundred great places to work for across India.

Sam

Wow. That's really great. Thanks for letting us know. Okay. So, I have questions like you know as you told me, like that you take advice or suggestions from everyone, right? I knew each suggestion was really important, right? But, many times happen, whether the suggestions are right or wrong. Sometimes it definitely happens when people are saying suggestions, maybe something different.

So how do you tackle those? Because you know, if you are not considering that (their suggestions) into your strategies or maybe something different, then people might feel something different or consider that my suggestion is not accepted and another person's accepted. So how do you manage those things,

Bala

Absolutely. So the company has, you know, certain basic elements that form the foundation of the company's culture. Some of them, uh, is, you know, maintaining a hundred percent transparency when it comes to communication, right?

We used to have audit updates. We still have audit updates on a monthly basis where the CEO directly addresses all of us to highlight what is going well with the company, what does what, and which are all the improvement areas, right?

How are we performing in so many different things and aspects, and what we're exactly doing, we start against the yearly goals, and everything accurately highlighted as part of the organizational update, which means for all the people of the company, it is visible.

And the exact same thing happened as part of, you know, I'm, again and again, you might look at me referring to the covid situation here because, you know, a lot has happened during covid for all of and how exactly we were able to turn the tide as a company is something I always got every now one then, so we followed 12 principles, right? Foundational principles are there based on the books but also, as a practice, we do.

Sam

Okay

Bala

Some of, uh, one such principle is to, you know, be inquisitive, keep asking the question why do not assume and things like that. Okay? It's absolutely okay to make mistakes as long as we are learning from it. So coming back to your question of, what if my suggestion is taken, okay, such apprehensions, right? What if I make a wrong suggestion? How it'll be taken? No judgment.

First of all, no judgment. The moment a person becomes a part of Vuram, right? Zero judgment, they are trusted a hundred percent. The trust is going to such an extent that as in using the word employee here just for understanding purposes as an of Vuram, right? I am eligible to refer someone to the company who can work under me directly with literally zero interviews.

Only the people or HR round will be there. That won't be technical on things like that. The company trusts me as an individual and employer forum to that extent. That's why I'm calling it no judgment hundred trusts.

So in such an arena, it doesn't matter whether my suggestion is taken forward or, you know, it goes wrong. If it goes wrong, there is learning for me, and it goes well. It means that people love it. It is being rolled out as a policy. I'm really glad about it. So both ways, there is learning.

Sam

Okay. Got it. Yeah. These are very basic questions like where, and I learned from the internet about the people-centric company, but these are the very small things that don't know how, like the person, let's say, if you become the owner of like, everything, let's say you feel yourself as an owner because you know, you can take decisions based on what you like because higher management and the CEO believed.

Whatever you are doing, it's good for the companies, right? So that's the belief and the policy that was setup. That's definitely incredible. Okay?

So, as you told me that, your CEO involves in everything, so how can employee engagement be used as a marketing tool, I have seen most of the time people from marketing are responsible for everything, right? Live generating business and everything.

But now, that's not the case. Like now, people from customer support, engineering, and every department can contribute a lot; even office assistants can contribute a lot to the company, right? So, how do you feel that employee engagement can help in marketing?

Bala

Yeah. Alright. Maybe I'll add a little more context to it. Thanks for raising this question, which is very, very important also. So how and why exactly should marketing engage the company's own people as the voice of the brand to enhance the brand, correct, if I may call it, right? There are multiple different dimensions or aspects of this.

I'll try to address them one up to the other, right? One angle, one from the company cycle, from the marketing angle at the high level, right? If we take marketing as a department, the success of the marketing department, right? Lies into what extent the department can actually, like marketing in any company, can, uh, make all the people of the company or all the employees of the company as brand ambassadors. Because to that extent, we get so many different influencers in stuff.

I know marketing as a standalone department trying to influence and trying to promote things if the entire company, along with marketing, supports the marketing efforts.

So that's gonna be hugely beneficial for marketing when it comes to achieving the goals of announcing the company's brand image and brand equity. That's the whole idea for so, so imagine there are several different departments.

Of course, if you look at any successful companies, they are based on passionate people within, right? So we have considered a technology environment, a technology company, and there are people who are tech-savvy, people who are really passionate about exploring new technologies, working around with it if we see they are passionate about it, right?

And, uh, as long as we have a culture of application, like I said, as long as we have a strong work culture and strong people-centric culture, right? They act as a foundation for it. So in an appreciative environment, they are passionate people. Obviously, they're appreciated and recognized for, you know, the efforts they put in.

Now, as a next step, what marketing can do here is in stuff marketing, doing all the work. If I mean all the promotions, if we involve the real people who are there, right at the ground level on technology, on all our, on our offerings, whatever we would like to promote based on the company, it is first of all going to add authenticity for the brand because got, it's not someone else who is talking, I am involved in it directly by the product or a technology or an offering, and I am talking about it, right?

And I'm addressing the audience, which means I'm making sense by I'm referring to the people who are really involved, passionate people, right? Got it. That one aspect from the company level as a brand, we are getting more authenticity and more credibility because we are able to showcase that we do have such kind of thought leadership on subject matter experts.

And they are in the front, trying to highlight what exactly they do as part of their regular life to enhance the customers or the end customers. Nope. Life better. This is one aspect of it from the people such kind of people sees the end of day in today's world, you know, uh, self-branding is also becoming quite popular, right? Across personal brands.

So by giving such an opportunity for our people, see, by default, they are passionate, motivated, recognized, and already advocates of best practices when it comes to their way of work.

All we are doing is we trying to channel their best practices and their advocacy, right? Uh, in the form of marketing through multiple different channels, we give them visibility.

So when a thought leader or subject matter expert is promoting a specific technology or product, it is gonna give him or her the due visibility, the due recognition among their network of connects, right? We the world, it's online, across the world. So that is a recognition for them.

By doing so, it is actually building a self-brand, right? For them. That's a huge thing in the form of an opportunity that they,

Like from a company perspective, from a people perspective, from marketing as a department perspective, there are several advantages when we actually bring in the real people, right? As the voice of brands.

Okay. Completely understand. So that's, that's how like, you making, uh, people-centric company, right?

Absolutely. But, for example, yeah. See, um, so we have certain initiatives called Tech talk, a podcast initiative with another company, and webinar initiatives at our company. You know what, in all these initiatives, it's the people, the subject matter experts. Yeah. And no, whichever technology you are interested in is not necessarily what we are selling, right? <laugh>

You are interested in it and passionate about coming forward, speaking, and addressing the audience, right? We will partly channel it and promote it to the res irrespective audiences and net what you're gaining, you are gaining recognition, you're gaining visibility, and you become a thought leader.

And from a company perspective, we are gaining more and more spokespersons for the company in multiple different technologies, right? We are gaining future leaders and also being nurtured in the process.

Sam

Okay. Completely. Got it. It can definitely make a difference.

I personally feel like that, you know, at Acquire, we completely believe in that. Like your company, we are also a people-centric company, but maybe like it's sometime employee-centric, whatever we call it, but it's definitely people who work with us.

Definitely, they can make a difference in each and every important in the company, right? Even I used to tell my office boy what are we doing, what our product was, right? Because if somebody asks the office boy what your company is, so he should be able to tell about the company and product. So how is culture the most important part here?

So what are your suggestions, or how can you find the kind of people who fit in your culture? Because, as you know, finding such people is critical. I have been in marketing, but I have seen how difficult to build a team, as I have built from five to a hundred, right? So, how do you find people who actually fit your culture? What tactics or hacks did you follow and want to share with our readers?

Bala

Yes, absolutely. So, in fact, we can also have it the other way around in terms of how we look at it. So

Sam

Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Bala

Like I highlighted earlier, right? The moment we become water might, it's a hundred percent trust factor.

We need not, okay? I joined this company very new, and for the next six months, I need to actually put in more effort to ensure that, you know, I have, I have to take a good name, and you need to show some results to my boss.

It's not required in this company, but the simple reason is that, okay, as we have a very stringent evaluation process and see for this company, right, the culture is the core.

It's a foundation, and you know, the company will never compromise when it comes to culture. It'll never get altered.

Culture is a success factor, right? The people it is a success factor whether we are a fine member company or a thousand member company, or a 5,000 member company in the future, right?

Bala

This will not get altered the way, right? Because it's a core. So from that perspective, stringent mechanisms and guidelines are followed to ensure that people who fit into this culture are taken in and become the world, right?

In other words, the skill can be upskilled. If a person lags in a certain skill required for company success, we have so many different because, at the end of the day, people are interested, right? We give more opportunities that are separate upskilling mechanisms and processes and departments that will take care of upskilling the person, right? But culture is something that is core.

It cannot be compromised.

So as part of the initial mechanisms, guidelines are what I highlighted earlier, right? Uh, we look forward to the fitment for the company's culture. Once that is clear, even if there are certain gaps when it comes to skills, it is okay. Absolutely. Because the end day is enhanced.

Sam

Yeah, Correct. So even, whenever I look at a profile, I definitely look at three things- the first one is experienced, the second is ethics, and the third is something that, you know, culture. Like if someone does not fit the culture, then there's no use. Sometimes we have to skip a good candidate who is the best at their work but does not fit into the culture. Correct.

Okay. So I think I have two minutes. So let's have, uh, like another round of interview where I will ask five questions that you need to answer.

The first, who are the person who likes mostly or you admire, or the person who feels that this is really great person and you always follow him, or maybe, you want to become a person like that or something like that.

So personally, very quickly, I'll make it easier. I, you know, um, I do not have a one role model because I continuously learn. I think that it is great that I have, you know, I allow to learn, and I continuously learn every minute.

I ensure that you know I'm better than the last minute. In fact, I'm definitely one of the, what I'm principles here that is better than the past principles.

So every minute I try, try to learn, be it on the up are the downs, right? We have both situations, so I try to learn from all the people and all the situations. So because of that, I'm not in a position to give you one particular name here.

Okay. No problem. And how do you celebrate your success? Let's say, what do you do once the goal is completed or what kind of thing, and then how do you react to that?

Bala

Okay, so as long as it is aligned with our overall long-term strategy aligned to our goals, and as long as we know the entire, uh, how should I put it, the entire immediate ecosystem is in a position to grow. That is what I call a success.

In other words, if I have to succeed, I'll call something a success in the entire ecosystem around me, be it in the form of my team members or the stakeholders who depend on us or on marketing. If we have an opportunity, we see visibility that all of us are growing together; that is what, ideally, I see as a success.

Sam

Okay, and last question. If somebody (like a marketer) wants to reach out to you, where can they find you?

Bala

Oh, oh, LinkedIn directly. They can reach me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/balasanjeevi-iyer/

Sam

Alright, thanks for talking today. Happy weekday.

Bala

Thank you so much for having me,