Corporate Identity Symbols Increase Employee Engagement

Identity Symbols

It is very hard to have a sense of belonging to a community when the community doesn’t have a clear name and image. Just imagine how hard it would be to manage a family, with its family members, family history, family properties and family traditions, if there were no family name!

It’s the same with teams, organizations, and other groups. If we want a person to feel part of a group and balance the needs of the group against his or her own needs, the group will need a name and image that is at least as strong as that person’s.

Managing identity is about managing belonging.

Jurgen Appelo

Identity requires coherence and the coherence of a group is about the consistency of its behaviors. Actions emerge from identity and identity emerges from actions. The group’s identity and actions need coherence or else they are meaningless. In an organization, multiple levels of identity also occur and they include:

Identity Symbols (Icon)
  • Individual identity
  • Team identity
  • Department identity
  • Business unit identity
  • Corporate identity

These identities overlap. People want to be on the management team while at the same time, they wish to remain “one of the guys” in the production department. They want to be an appreciated designer in a project team but they also hope to be an active contributor to a community of designers across different projects. This juggling of multiple identities is normal and management should stimulate and nurture all these different shared identities.

Strengthen a sense of belonging among the people in you group by trying out these activities:

1. Find an excuse to ask teams, departments, or divisions about a symbol of their identity. Maybe it’s because you need icons on the intranet, or on the website or maybe because you’re creating a brochure for new employees and maybe because each will be presented at the company’s annual event.

2. Don’t let them get away with a name such as “QA Department” in 12-point Times New Roman. It might be useful to collect some good (and bad) examples and distribute them for inspiration.

3. Verify that all group members are willing to associate themselves with the chosen symbols. Otherwise, reject them. (The symbols, not the people.)

4. Start using the symbols in all internal communication.