Creating Meaningful Experiences Builds Employee Loyalty & Increases Engagement
“I love to build relationships with my clients, giving me a greater understanding of what drives them, motivates them, and interests them. This allows me to create experiences and programs that I know they will benefit from. Having those one-on-one relationships allows me to focus on what will make the individuals feel appreciated in their positions, and ultimately increase their engagement and retention within the company.”
Sara Burcheri is a Success Consultant at Reverie Organizational Development Specialists. Sara's endless creativity, her strong organizational skills, her phenomenal attention-to-detail, and her warm, friendly nature makes any client she works with feel heard, valued, and appreciated. Prior to joining Reverie, Sara spent 13+ years working in experiential marketing at a Fortune 500 retailer where she created and implemented national marketing strategies and established processes that supported employee advancement. By valuing professional mentoring, establishing open communication channels, and leveraging employee strengths, Sara is passionate about team building. Navigating a complex organizational structure at various positions during her career has reinforced her commitment to being resourceful, detail-oriented, and results-driven.
Q. Having worked at a large, fortune 500 company for 13+ years, you have quite an impressive background in experiential consumer engagement. What is experiential consumer engagement?
A. It can be many different things, but my main focus was determining who was that very specific consumer in a very specific location in a very specific environment and how we can best connect with them to drive sales. It is about creating brand loyalty among your consumers and creating experiences that make them always come to your brand as their first choice. Look at a company like Amazon. They have great consumer engagement but they don’t need to do one-on-one personal experiences. Their strong engagement comes from the fact that they are fast and reliable, have everything, and have good customer service. Not all businesses have those same capabilities, so they must figure out a way to take some of the market value away by creating experiences that make customers think ‘I can never get this experience anywhere else.’ It could be something small like offering the first 500 customers in the door a $10 gift card. Or it can be something very big like an invite to a special event or being placed on a VIP list where attendees will see the launch of a new brand before anyone else. Whatever it is, you are making consumers feel valued and special! You are making them want to shop your brand first and foremost because they won’t get that feeling anywhere else.
Q. How does your background and expertise in experiential consumer engagement benefit your clients now as a Success Consultant with Reverie?
A. The majority of my past role was to create elaborate, detailed, and thoughtful experiences for people I didn't know. At Reverie, I still create those same elaborate, detailed, and thoughtful experiences, but now it is for people I know - my clients and their team members. As a success consultant at Reverie, I love to build relationships with my clients, giving me a greater understanding of what drives them, motivates them, and interests them. This allows me to create experiences and programs that I know they will benefit from. Having those one-on-one relationships allows me to focus on what will make the individuals feel appreciated in their positions, and ultimately increase their engagement and retention within the company. In my former role, I built brand loyalty and focused on retaining customers. In my role at Reverie, I build employee loyalty. I create experiences for my clients where their employees feel valued and want to stay there for their entire career.
Q. Having worked for a large corporation, I am quite sure there are many effective and proven business practices that can be transferable to small to mid-sized businesses. What are some opportunities that, when scaled down for the small to mid-sized businesses, you can provide Reverie clients?
A. I think one great thing I can provide my clients is strong and effective marketing strategies. In my previous role, I was constantly looking for new opportunities to market our brand on a larger, more regional level. Being at a large corporation there was a lot of red tape, so I was constantly having to think outside the box to create solutions to the obstacles I was up against. As a result, I have a stockpile of ideas and opportunities for ways my clients can market themselves and their brand that can easily be implemented without all the red tape or the large chain of command of decision makers that I faced in a large, corporate environment. Small to mid-sized small business owners can make these decisions easily and quickly, allowing me to lead them down a path that I know will work. I have the history and the knowledge of my past experiences that have worked well and can easily be translated into our clients’ environment.
Q. Statistics show that highly engaged employees are 54% more likely to remain an employee for 5+ years and are 30% more likely to become a higher producer. How does creating meaningful experiences for a team help drive employee engagement?
A. In my opinion, when a company creates meaningful experiences for their employees, it shows that the company is invested in them. Taking the time to personally get to know the employees tells them, ‘my company and its leaders value me as a person.’ It becomes more than just making sales goals; it’s about building relationships. And this is especially important in the current environment where we are not seeing our colleagues or having as many opportunities to connect with them. People truly miss that one-to-one connection. When an employer takes the time to send a little care package to their team members or to plan a small event, it shows the employees that they are valued, appreciated, and are being thought of.
Q. In addition to increasing employee engagement, what are some of the other benefits/results business owners can achieve when they create meaningful engagement experiences for their team members?
A. Loyalty. Creating meaningful experiences throughout the company helps build loyalty. When a manager or someone from the leadership team reaches out to a team member simply to say, “Hey, I heard you are doing a great job,” it means so much to that employee. Having a leader pick up the phone to call an employee, regardless of where they are on the totem pole, is not only wonderful in making an employee feel valued, but it also goes a long way in building loyalty to the company. Building those personal connections is the driver in keeping and retaining good talent. If you feel personally connected to the people you work with, you don’t want to let them down. You consider if you don’t do your job effectively, or were to leave the company, how it will affect your colleague, mentor, and friend. Loyalty becomes the driver in how you approach your role.
Q. Tell me about some of the employee experiences you have created for some of our Reverie clients.
A. Most recently, we did a Valentine’s Day gift center for one of our clients. We created a station where the team members could pick out chocolates, candy, champagne, cards and gifts bags to create an “on-the-go” Valentine’s Day gift bag for their spouse, family, or special someone. We tried to create an opportunity for the employees to make their “loved ones” feel appreciated.
We have also organized regular, virtual yoga classes during work hours for team members to take some time to slow down, re-energize, and focus on their health and well-being. These events, though on Zoom, are still a nice way for employees to “see” each other in the absence of the face-to-face contact that we are currently experiencing.
And, most recently, we distributed a scratch off lottery card to team members to try their luck on St. Patrick’s Day.
Q. What makes you passionate about creating “Wow” experiences for your clients?
A. From the experience factor, I love seeing the end result and how the employees engaged in it or the results they obtained from it. From a relationship building perspective, it goes such a long way in building a more intimate relationship with the clients. It helps me to get to know my clients more quickly. And, I love to make people feel appreciated. The experience doesn't need to be huge. It just needs to show that you put some thought into making the employees feel appreciated.
Q. What is the biggest benefit Reverie offers their clients?
A. I think it is the personal connection we make with all of our clients. The entire Reverie team is so personable and really wants to get to know their clients. We strive harder to push our clients toward their goals due to the relationship connection we make with them. Our success ultimately is their success. You don’t get that with a lot of other consulting companies. We focus on the personal relationship.
Q. What drew you to a career with Reverie?
A. It was watching Jaid and Lindsay as they started to build the Reverie brand online. I would look at their posts and see the relationship between the two of them, their passion, their energy. It was evident to me that they truly love what they do, they have a ton of great experience, and a huge amount of knowledge. I wanted to be a part of that energy and learn from them. I wanted to shift my career into something more meaningful where I could use my past experiences in management, development, and marketing to help strengthen small and mid-sized businesses on a path to success.