Case Studies - Outstanding Brand Led Employee Training

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Case Study - Chick Fil A: Employee Brand Led Training

The Core 4, Second-Mile Service, and the four pillars are Chick-fil-A's brand-led training materials for internal employee programs. Through extensive training, employees are motivated to provide outstanding services and make quality decisions.

Chick Fil A's Brand-Led Training Materials

  • Chick-fil-A's brand-led training materials for internal employee programs include the "Core 4" and "Second-Mile Service", and the four pillars.
  • The Core 4 principles are make eye contact, smile, speak enthusiastically, and stay connected.
  • While it is simple to make eye contact, it is usually overlooked. When employees make eye contact with customers it shows the customers that their presence is recognized and it makes a great difference in the atmosphere of a place.
  • Smiling is a display of kindness known globally. Smiling employees make a positive impact on customers and they feel better and happier doing it.
  • When people speak with confidence and enthusiasm, they build up their confidence even if they feel less confident in the beginning.
  • Relationships are formed by finding shared values and common grounds. Getting to know people and understand them leads to better connections.
  • The Second-Mile Service training was adapted from the Bible. Chick-fil-A employees are instructed to provide services to customers beyond their expectations.
  • They can "hold doors for customers, carry large loads to their cars, and bring them free refills."
  • There are also four pillars guiding Chick-fil-A’s business operations. The four pillars are: the taste of food, speed of service, attentiveness, (drawn from core 4) and courteous service.

How Chick Fil A Successfully Indoctrinate Employees into Championing Their Brand

  • Chick-fil-A ensures a thorough and customized employee training that is designed to fit the operational aspects and attitudes that are really important to customers.
  • The company also employs top-notch methods in its training. For example, it runs all types of simulations and engages actors to portray different customer challenges and scenarios.
  • It gets its employees prepared for any situation, whether it is washing the coffee filter, making the perfect sandwich, or handling aggrieved customers. New employees are also taken through an excellent onboarding process.
  • Chick-fil-A stated that it commits more time than many other restaurant chains to the training of its employees and that has led to superior results.
  • Chick-fil-A invests more time in hands-on training and it also supervises its employees to ensure that they can work efficiently.
  • The company also empowers its employees by trusting them with decision-making authority.
  • Employees are encouraged to make decisions. They can also try new things as a result of their observations thereby cultivating high employee pride.

How Employees Become Brand Ambassadors

  • Chick-fil-A's employees become brand ambassadors by imbibing the company's healthy culture. The company's core values inspire trust in its employees through strategic application.
  • The core values clarify the company's identity and shows the employees how to treat customers every time.
  • That’s the reason Chick-fil-A's customers have become used to seeing the smile of the employees, hearing “my pleasure” and spending only minutes on a long queue.
  • It is the result of personal excellence, cooperation, and consistent work improvement.

Why Employees Love To Work at the Company

  • Chick-fil-A employees love to work at the company because the company cares about their personal needs and goals and helps the employees to achieve them.
  • One franchise manager assists his employees by paying for their marketing degrees as well as photography classes He also sends food to the family members of his employees and the hospital staff taking care of them whenever any of their family members are admitted to the hospital.
  • Another manager gives bonuses of around $250 each semester to every employee in college or high school who makes an A or B grade. He found that employees respond positively and are better motivated when they are cared for.
  • All Chick-fil-A restaurants also offer leadership positions. All employees have the opportunity to rise to senior positions in "marketing, cleanliness, kitchen operations or the drive-through operations".
  • Training classes are opened to employees to obtain certificates in different fields and it has been observed that the better the employees are trained, the longer they remain at the company.
  • A survey conducted by Chick-fil-A showed that 90% of its employees who were scholarship beneficiaries want to continue working for the company even after earning a degree, although they are not required to remain in the company. 99.6% of them stated that the scholarship was a key employment benefit.

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Case Study - Zappos: Employee Brand Led Training

Company culture is considered a key driving force behind the Zappos brand, and this culture is ingrained in Zappos employees from day one of their training. In fact, the hiring process at Zappos evaluates each employee's potential to fit the company's culture. Their training program inculturates employees into the company's brand by immersing them in the customer service process of WOWing every customer. Employees are given opportunities to express their views on the company culture and are provided with continuous department-level training to reinforce the company's values, creating brand ambassadors out of every employee.

Employee Indoctrination

  • The focus on company culture is present even before a new hire comes on board, as the hiring process focuses on finding people who fit the culture. The interview process is described as a being "more like a courtship than traditional recruitment."
  • Potential employees may spend months interacting with Zappos employees in social settings before they are offered a job, with a candidate's cultural fit making up 50% of the hiring decision, so by the time an employee is hired, they have already started being indoctrinated into the company's culture.
  • The Zappos Pipeline team provides new employees with a four-week training "that teaches them about the Zappos Family culture and how to WOW our customers." Classes include Zappos Family Culture and Zappos Family History, which introduce new hires to the company's core values.
  • Every employee, regardless of the role they will fill, spends 30 hours assisting customers by phone as part of the four-week training course.
  • Zappos' ten core values include delivering "WOW through service," embracing and driving change, creating "fun and a little weirdness," being adventurous and creative, building a positive team, and being humble.
  • Zappos has an Oath of Employment that outlines each of the ten core values and how to live them out as an employee.
  • After the initial call center-focused training, new hires are offered up to $3,000 to leave. According to a 2014 article, only 2-3% of new hires accept that offer. Another source suggests that only 1% of new hires take this deal.
  • To illustrate the ingrained customer service culture of the brand, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh often shares the story of attending a Skechers conference, taking some Skechers rep's on a bar-hopping trip, and returning to the hotel too late to order pizza. He told the Skechers reps to call the Zappos hotline to order a pizza and, to their amazement, a somewhat confused but resilient Zappos call center employee found them some late-night pizza options, making the Sketchers representative a life-long Zappos convert.

Employees as Brand Ambassadors

  • Zappos trains every employee to use social media channels, including its "InsideZappos" Twitter account to share what it's like to work for the company, using the hashtag #CompanyCulture, and its #ZapposCulture Instagram account.
  • To encourage employees to share their work experience and the company's culture, Zappos "keeps a leaderboard that lists the top performing employees in social media."
  • Zappos gives their employees a voice, encouraging them to "speak at industry events about the things at work they are proud of."
  • Employees are given the opportunity to describe the Zappos culture in their own words in The Zappos Culture Book, which is available for anyone to read. The 2018 book is dedicated to "the hard-working, creative, funny, intelligent, amazing weirdos that we are proud to call Zapponians."
  • Zappos builds employee loyalty by committing to the health and well-being of each employee, from providing hearing aids and paternity leave to supporting pet adoption and wellness programs.
  • Employees are encouraged to find their ikigai, a Japanese word meaning the "reason you get up in the morning." To this end, the company provides Zappos University to assist employees in pursuing learning opportunities, allows employees to shadow other jobs, gives them access to life coaching and flexible work schedules, and allows them opportunities to do volunteer work that honors their passions.

Job Stickiness at Zappos

  • Zappos managers are expected to devote at least 10-20% of their department's time on team building activities, such as cookouts and contests, while the company offers three company-wide activities: "a summer picnic, a January party at Tony Hsieh's, Zappos CEO, and a vendor party that employees and families attend."
  • In 2014, Hsieh began the move from a traditional hierarchical organizational structure to the Holacracy model of "circles within circles within circles," which gives employees roles within these circles that give them a certain degree of autonomy in making decisions related to that role.
  • Customer service employees are empowered to creatively respond to the needs of customers.
  • Zappos also empowers employees by allowing them to contribute to a culture book every year, detailing how employees feel about the company's culture.
  • The company's culture is described as zany and weird, and the employees embrace the culture, proudly showing off their decorated workspaces to those who tour the company's Henderson, Nevada offices.
  • Zappos call center agents are given "breathing space," both during training and when working the phones, to allow them adequate time to connect with a customer and fully respond to their needs.
  • Zappos' Head of Human Resources, Hollie Delaney, says that the company puts the "human" in human resources, ensuring that every new hire fits the company culture and feels comfortable in that culture.
  • Employees enjoy many perks and amenities at Zappos, including a relaxed dress code, an office library, and an internal currency called "Zollars," redeemable for swag and tech toys at the Zollar Store.
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Case Study - Employee Brand Led Training: Part One

Twitter has received the highest rating from its own employees of their corporate culture and values on, a platform that has evaluated multiple thousand reviews and comments from employers.

Employee Indoctrination

  • Steve Bonomo, Twitter’s head of global talent acquisition and people analytics provides a step by step birds eye view of the onboarding process of Twitter in this article.

Employees as Brand Ambassadors

  • Twitter's purpose-driven work environment works as well as it does because employees want to feel that the work that they do matters.
  • Twitter's focus is on creating a "collaborative, team-oriented space that helps employees come together and see the value of what they do." In fact, Glassdoor named Twitter's employees as the happiest in the United States, and the vast majority of that happiness can be attributed to the company's culture, where employees feel that what they think and feel matters.
  • At Twitter, team culture and environment is hugely important. Twitter invests a lot of time and effort into ensuring its employees are happy.
  • According to Laoise Scully, Manager, Revenue Operations at Twitter "I can honestly say that the team I work with in Twitter is incredibly smart, kind and fun, which results in me having a smile plastered on my face for most of the day!"
  • Jim Cramer says Twitter is a smart company to invest in, and employees seem to agree.
  • When Steve Bonomo, Twitter’s head of global talent acquisition and people analytics, ask people why they wanted to be employed at Twitter, they always say is because they believe in the purpose that Twitter serves.
  • According to Bonomo, "Twitter received more than 150,000 applications last year, and today, the company has over 450 open positions. Twitter, like the rest of the industry, is hungry for tech talent and actively searching for workers who can help the company achieve their mission."
  • "The importance of passion is instilled at all levels of the company, he says, and hiring people who are passionate about Twitter’s work is good for the company’s culture and for the bottom line."

Job Stickiness at Twitter

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Case Study - Employee Brand Led Training: Part Two

Google trains its new hire for two weeks to integrate them into its work culture so that they can be good brand ambassadors. The company offers many perks to its employees to keep them motivated so that they can achieve their goals without any interference.

Employee Indoctrination

  • Google company is the #3 most valuable brand worldwide and the #3 best employer in America. The company's onboarding process works 25% better compared to any other company. Its new hires are integrated into the company's culture to work effectively and succeed.
  • Google’s ‘just in time’ Onboarding Checklist: This is a checklist sent to a manager whom a new hire will work under. The list is sent 24 hours earlier before a new employee joins the company.
  • The list has five tasks a manager should do to integrate the new hire into the company. The tasks include: 1) Have a discussion about roles and responsibilities, 2) Match the new hire with a peer buddy, 3) Help the new hire build a social network, 4) Set up employee onboarding check-ins once a month for the new hire’s first six months, and 5) Encourage open dialogue.
  • Three of the tasks above majorly focus on the company's culture because Google believes it is the “people that make Google the kind of company it is”. To raise its employee satisfaction, the company prioritizes relationships and fun at work because happy employees beat the competition by 20% and make them 12% more productive.

onboarding process

  • During the employee onboarding process, Google uses "lectures and beers" to educate, develop, and integrate new hires into the company's culture. Beers help to break the ice and make them feel comfortable.
  • The company spends two weeks immersing new employees in the culture and Google's specific theories, ‘the life of a query’ and ‘the life of an ad’, to make them the best brand ambassadors.
  • New hires must go through mental molding before they join their respective ranks. This is to help them blend the technical knowledge and company's culture together so that they can slot seamlessly into their new roles. Through this internal employee training program, Google has increased its employee satisfaction by 37% by implementing company's culture initiatives.
  • After training, new hires join Google's employee-to-employee network called “g2g” (Googler-to-Googler), which 80% of all tracked training of Google is run through. The program helps employees to share knowledge with each other.
  • To make each employee feel like a part of the brand, Google has built a network where everyone is both a teacher and a learner (this is, employees, depend on each other). For example, its “G2G”—Googler-to-Googler—network has over 6,000 Google employees who help each other to improve and learn. Also, the company allows its employees to use 20% of their working hours to create their innovative ideas.
  • Employees are trained through discussions, simulations, and on-the-job training. Google uses simulations to develop creative responses to empower its employees to understand the details of projects, products, and work tasks. On-the-job training helps them to help each other with ideas and knowledge.

Employees as Brand Ambassadors

  • Google is a global master at immersing employees in "the brand". It usually provides the best in class examples of how to market the brand right. Currently, it's a tech company with the best corporate culture in the world. Through its 70/20/10 policy, Google provides “freedom to create” brand promise by giving its employees the opportunity to be as creative as they are productive provides.
  • The company's culture is meant to attract and retain top talents. To achieve this, Google optimizes its talent by designing strong teams. According to Robert Bruce Shaw, author of Extreme Teams: Why Pixar, Netflix, Airbnb, and Other Cutting-Edge Companies Succeed Where Most Fail, “Google has created a culture that supports teams. You can try to apply what works for others, and there are lessons to be learned, but there are a broader set of factors to consider.”
  • In the making employees the best brand ambassadors, Google takes two groups of its employees and offers one a thorough training. After some time, it checks if the "customer satisfaction" level went up in the control group. This is done to help employees to be customer-oriented by improving their performance through the training.
  • Google provides psychological safety to its employees and teams to encourage them to take risks without feeling embarrassed and insecure. It encourages asking questions and sharing information, and this is done by asking each member his/her point of view on the idea being debated on.
  • Google's culture helps its employees to know their goals, roles, and plans of execution, and the teams are assembled as per individuals' strength and chemistry so that no one is left out. This is crucial in building the brand's name because everyone feels he/she is a part of it.
  • The leaders of the teams guide and motivate their team members to work on something significant that makes a difference in the organization and society at large. Google also has core values that guide its employees' engagement with each other and customers. The employees must revisit these values over and over to maintain the innovative culture, which makes them good brand ambassadors.
  • Also, Google doesn't approach its work culture as “set it and forget it”; therefore, its task is to keep up with the ever-changing needs of employees by providing a constant and evolving process that meets their (employees) demands. The logic behind this is that; when employees are happy and satisfied, they become good ambassadors of the brand.
  • To get its employees to be brand ambassadors, from the start, Google hires people who are humble and always looking to improve themselves and the company. These employees must be willing to put customers first by organizing the world's information and making it accessible and useful worldwide. In 2015, Google was ranked #1 as the "Best Employers" and "Best Companies to Work for" by Fortune, Glassdoor, and Forbes.
  • Google offers its employees $1 per day credit accounts to fund campaigns to familiarize them with its advertising programs, which markets the brand to the consumers. According to the Digital Marketing Institute report, Google gets its employees to be brand ambassadors by investing in their happiness and their well-being. It achieves this by offering various perks to its employees. This makes them stay loyal to the company.

Job Stickiness at Google

  • Google offers many benefit programs and onsite amenities that support its employees and their families. It offers retirement savings plans, parental leave policies, death benefits, among others.
  • Googlers are also provided with excellent healthcare benefits, such as, onsite wellness and healthcare services, including physicians, chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage services. Additionally, employees are provided with onsite fitness centers and classes to save them time and keep them fit.
  • Further, Google provides them with free meals and micro kitchens where they can cook the meals they want. It does this to give them a healthy life.
  • Employees are allowed to take a vacation to recharge, spend time with their families and friends, take care of personal stuff, among others. The company also assigns them financial advisors to help them manage their finances well.
  • According to Indeed and Glassdoor platforms, most employees enjoy working at Google because it allows someone to work while learning, flexible schedules that balance work and life, best work culture, the best leadership, great work ethic, among others.

Research Strategy

During our search, we used three old sources from 2017, Inc, Panmore, and Brand Establishment websites. These sources contain relevant information on how Google gets its employees to be brand ambassadors, and the evidence showing that working at Google is the best experience.

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Case Study - Employee Brand Led Training: Part Three

Nike's core values drive decision-making at the company for consumers and employees. While employee branding is slightly different from the consumer brand, the message is the same. Everyone is an athlete, and everyone deserves the best for themselves and others.

Employee Indoctrination

  • Nike's core values are creativity, diversity, and continuous learning. To that, they have added sustainability and the desire to bring out the best in people. To ensure everyone has these opportunities, Nike offers tons of resources for career, health, safety, and more.
  • Nike's use of storytelling in marketing has led to the use of storytelling as a significant recruiting tool. The potential is candidates will resonate with the message of the story and want to work at Nike.
  • In 2017, Nike launched its new careers website, redesigned to look and feel more like the consumer site. The new site features bold fonts, inspiring questions, and imagery from actual employees on campus.
  • Nike's careers web page walks a candidate through a series of interactive questions about career goals, their best traits, passions, career experience, and years of experience. After answering the survey questions, the candidate can review and apply for any number of matched positions.
  • Because corporate culture is critical to continuity, new employees receive training in that area immediately from internal trainers and corporate-produced materials on instructions, rules, and expectations that are required to do their job.
  • Nike's coaching and mentoring programs maintain the corporate culture and provide employees with opportunities for personal and professional improvement and growth.
  • CNBC ranked Nike number two on a quantified list of the happiest places to work. The happiest places to work revealed that employees are happiest when they have a good manager and a positive image of the CEO.

Employees as Brand Ambassadors

Job Stickiness at Nike

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From Part 02
  • "The Pipeline team provides all things training. They do a four-week training class for our new hires that teaches them about the Zappos Family culture and how to WOW our customers. "
  • "A training team trains employees in each core value. So, every employee hears the same message, learns the values, and learns the behavior that is expected to live the values every day at work. The trainers are available for training value gaps."
  • "Upon completion of their time in the call center, Zappos employees are offered $3,000.00 to leave the company. Yes, you heard that correctly. Leave."
  • "Each manager is expected to spend 10-20% of the department's time on employee team building activities. It makes employees feel comfortable with the culture, with each other, and they develop relationships that live the core values that Zappos espouses. Activities range from contest dioramas from movies in employee services to the shipping department putting on an Easter egg hunt."
  • "“If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you have worked, plus a $2,000 bonus.” The CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsie, says only 2% to 3% take the offer."
  • "As we continue to grow and hire new people, we need to make sure that they understand and become a part of our culture. That is the purpose of this culture book - - to provide a glimpse of what the Zappos culture is all about to new hires prospective new hires, our vendors and partners, and anyone else who might be interested. Of course, the Zappos culture means different things to different people, so I thought the best way for people to learn what the Zappos culture was all about was to hear from our employees directly.""
  • "Take a cue from Zappos, who trains every new employee to use Twitter. They’re encouraged to share interesting snippets from their workday, as well as resources that they might find useful."
  • "What prompted a call center rep employed with a fashion etailer to look for pizza outlets? The answer lies within what Zappos articulates as its goal “..The company that provides the absolute best service online — not just in shoes, but in any category.” The Zappos rep was just practicing the ethos of the brand."
  • "Zappos takes pride in having a free, tightly-knit culture. This culture shows in the way employees or “Zapponians” can tweet about their day-to-day operations."
  • "Breathing space is an essential element leading up to that moment as well, the moment when the agent encounters and strives to wow a live customer on the line. Breathing space is necessary as well when you’re “hiring for wow”; you need the time to find the people with an aptitude for make emotional connections with customers. "
  • "If we decide at the end of those four weeks that they're just not a good fit with one or more of our core values, we let candidates know we're going to let them go; and if they themselves don't feel that they're a good fit for Zappos, we want them to be comfortable walking away as well."
  • "Holacracy organizes work (and people) around circles within circles within circles. People within those circles have “roles” that give certain team members complete control over their domains. "
  • "No more job titles. No more managers. No more hierarchical decisions. By this time next year, Zappos’s 1,500 workers will be organized into something called a holacracy."
  • "Zappos encourages its employees to speak at industry events about the things at work they are proud of. If your employees are online talking about your brand (truthfully) it is the greatest endorsement you need. "
  • "For many Zapponians, working with a purpose has a name. It’s called ikigai. Employees can embrace personal learning and find their higher purpose through online learning courses, shadow sessions and life coaching opportunities."
  • "Zappos was built by people who found their ikigai."
From Part 03
From Part 04
  • "Since that point, everyone knows Google has made leaps not only in the Internet space but also in the workplace. The company is the #3 world’s most valuable brand and the #3 best employer in America. Its made extremely effective tweaks to its hiring process over the years, but what isn’t reported as often is its approach to new employee onboarding — the process of getting a new hire equipped with everything they need to integrate into the company culture, work effectively and succeed."
  • "Importantly, Google doesn’t approach its work culture as “set it and forget it”, so management teams are tasked with running a constant and evolving process to keep up with the ever-changing needs of employees and the industry."
  • "Google publishes the core values that guide their engagement with each other and their customers and they revisit these values, tweaking when necessary, says Susan Kuczmarski, author of Lifting People Up: The Power of Recognition."
  • "From our highly-rated retirement savings matches to financial advisors and planning services, we offer many resources to help keep you financially fit."
  • "It’s really rare to find a company that cares so much about an employee that they care about their family’s well being too. There was one lady that actually cried when she heard about Google’s “death benefit” (as morbid as it sounds)."
  • "Good work experience at that organization with made me improve my skills work terminology and work experience with that organization ... Made me improve my work environment with team."
  • "At Google, 80% of all tracked trainings are run through an employee-to-employee network called “g2g” (Googler-to-Googler). The “g2g” learning program is created to offer first-hand knowledge in different fields, from employees to employees."
  • "The 3 Simple Strategies Google Uses to Help Its Employees Learn."
  • "My MBA internship was at Google, and as much as you can talk about the food, the massages and the slides in the lobby, it’s the people who make Google great. You have instant access to experts in just about every technological field, and the intense hiring process ensures that the huge majority of Googlers are not just smart and capable -- they’re also kind and humble."
  • "Case in point: Fortune, Glassdoor and Forbes all ranked Google number one in their respective ‘Best Employers’ and ‘Best Companies to Work for’ lists in 2015."
  • "The company uses simulations to facilitate creative responses. Simulations empower Google’s employees to understand the details of work tasks, projects, and products. The company’s HRM uses on-the-job training to maximize the transfer of knowledge to new hires or interns. Many of these interns are absorbed into Google’s organization."
From Part 05
  • "It is exceedingly imperative for an employee to feel connected to the brand they represent, as they will be much more inclined to promote that brand; due to the fact that it symbolizes an extension of their own personal identity."
  • "Nike Inc.’s organizational culture supports business resilience and capability."
  • "Our data shows that happiness can impact productivity, employee loyalty and overall employee success"