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  • Writer's pictureSidekick

5 Ways to Build A Thriving Business and Strong Employee Brand

Portrait of woman smiling with curved yellow line in the foreground

The Wellbeing at Work Report was created by Sidekick and Humanity to gain a deeper understanding of Canadians’ wellbeing at work. The results of this study have strengthened Sidekick and Humanity’s belief that marketing your brand to your employees is equally as important as marketing your brand to your audience – after all, how can we expect a brand to be loved if employees don’t love it first?

The data in the report was interpreted through a brand strategy & management consulting lens with the intention to provide business leaders with tangible starting points to not only improve their employees’ wellbeing, but also build strong thriving businesses and brands.

Here are 5 key ways to build strong employee brands that fuel thriving businesses:

1. Develop an organizational culture and structure that fully embraces the power of diversity.

Canadian consumers now expect the brands they’re loyal to, and even the brands they’re not, to speak up on important social issues. But strong employee brands (a brand that focuses on not only it’s consumer but also on those who are behind the brand - its employees) are the ones that do not simply reflect the expectations of society because they “should”. Strong employee brands embrace their diverse workforce internally, emboldening themselves to speak up on certain issues because they want to.

In fact, employees identifying as diverse (e.g., gender, sexual identify, racial identity, family status, physical ability, and more) derive the greatest sense of wellbeing from work. Canadians identifying with three or more dimensions of diversity have a Wellbeing Score that is 42% greater than their non-diverse peers (34% vs. 24%). However, 45% of Canadians identifying with any 1 of our 11 dimensions of diversity don’t agree they belong at their company.

From our focus group insights, collaborative environments were indicated as an opportunity to break down barriers that otherwise divide society and ultimately serve as a powerful source of Social Wellbeing for Canadians as a whole.

Consequently, authentic opportunities and operating models that thrive on collaboration, comradery, and belonging (e.g., scrum teams, self-managing teams, cross-functional teams, etc.) are imperative to any organization that wants to create a thriving and sought-after work environment.

2. As a leader, take a customized approach to enhance the wellbeing of each member of your team.

When it comes to the pursuit of wellbeing, the variations within each person’s identity will determine the unique and personal factors required to satisfy their needs. For example, senior management roles scored up to 40 points higher across all Four Dimensions of Wellbeing compared to their colleagues in entry level roles. Strong employee brands will be ones where a personalized approach is also taken to understanding how their organization can contribute to the overall wellbeing of their employees, and how that differs from individual to individual. But how can you do this effectively?

First, acknowledge the difference between managers and leaders. Management contributes to the day-to-day operations to get stuff done while leadership is about empowering people, providing tools and an environment for people to thrive and remove barriers.

Second, leadership is not one size fits all. We need to rethink the size of teams and the number of people assigned to each leader. Sidekick Co-Founder, Mark Harrison, discusses this concept of customized leadership on CBC Metro Morning.

3. Invest in your employees’ Social Wellbeing, if you want your business to thrive.

Social Wellbeing comes from being connected to something beyond ourselves. At work, this is measured by our connection to our peers and to the organization that we work for. We discovered a strong correlation between Social Wellbeing and indicators of employee engagement.

Many reputable researchers have proven the undeniable impact employee engagement has on business performance indicators like revenue, consumer demand, and productivity. However, it’s important to recognize that the way people perceive and gain Social Wellbeing from work varies across age groups, seniority levels, and dimensions of diversity. Business leaders seeking to create a social environment need to start with a genuine interest and drive to understand their employees and what drives their Social Wellbeing. There must be room to build trust and friendships, there must be encouragement for personal development and progress, and people must feel they genuinely belong.

4. Go beyond throwing a party to make a meaningful contribution to your team’s wellbeing.

For years, brands have focused on reflecting the values of their consumers, but have we ensured that our brands reflect the values of our employees?

“For our report, we found that less than half (45%) of Canadians feel that the values of their organization mirror their personal values. For Canadians under 34-years-old, only 40% feel that the values of the organization match their own.”

Our research indicates that organizations greatly benefit from implementing intentional strategies that allow employees to grow and develop, but only 45% of respondents reported having a conversation about their development with a manager in the last 6 months. Furthermore, only 47% of respondents feel like someone at their organizations encourages their personal development.

To fix this, leaders must provide coaching and mentorship, and professional development opportunities to all employees on a consistent basis.

5. Explore the transformative power your brand holds, to make a positive impact on the lives of employees.

We’ve observed the power of Transformative Wellbeing (the ability of our work to change who we are as individuals) in our data at an industry level. The Top 5 Industries, which include Marketing/Product Management, Military Professional, Engineering/Architect, Religious Profession, and Education/Training have a Transformative Wellbeing Score that is 5x the average, and 7x greater than the Bottom 5 Industries.

Brands that achieve this Transformative Wellbeing with consumers become “cult brands” with loyal brand communities. Those that can deliver on Transformative Wellbeing within the workplace are those that deliver the greatest wellbeing overall and play the biggest role in the lives of their employees. Overall, the wellbeing of an organization’s employees is a large indicator of a successful, thriving business.

For more insights, data and takeaways, download the Wellbeing at Work Report.

About Humanity

Humanity is an independent, full-service advertising agency based in Toronto. Specializing in human-centric strategy and creative, Humanity’s vision is to become an ally, partner and champion of transformative change using our experience and expertise to contribute to the greater wellbeing of the global human collective.

To learn more visit

(Photo Description: Portrait of woman smiling with curved yellow line in the foreground.)

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