“Ultimately your employees are also your customers, and vice versa,” Virgin’s Amy Sawbridge reminded delegates in her talk, which revolved around the message that internal and external employer brands are two sides of the same coin.
“You can’t pigeonhole somebody as an employee, customer or consumer. Everyone is connected like never before. You can’t create a beautifully crafted image for one set of people and expect it not to be transitioned to an entirely different set of people,” she argued.
Virgin’s people teams are working hard with the companies across its wider group – comprising 70,000 employees – to create an authentic employee xperience. Sawbridge explained: “To create an authentic customer experience, you have to make an authentic employee experience. They’re the ones delivering and making that personal connection with your customers; they need to feel your brand.”
She added that Virgin Group’s founder, Richard Branson, still plays a strong role in the organisation and has an influence on culture. “His dedication, entrepreneurship and risk-taking spirit make a great impact,” Sawbridge told the audience.
Branson’s “can’t say no” mantra allowed an ‘unlimited leave’ policy to be introduced in Virgin Management two ears ago. “We understand our employees have a personal life too, and if the work gets done, then we’re happy,” she said.
Watch Amy's full presentation here: