Engagement has become a marketing buzzword. Brands understand that engagement is a key to customer loyalty in a digital world where competition is fierce. Companies know that engaging with customers, potential customers, and key influencers is important, and the notion of building a community of brand ambassadors can be a powerful tool.

But what if we're overlooking one important segment in our engagement efforts? There's one group of folks that has more knowledge than anyone regarding a brand's products and services and this group may have the ability to be its most enthusiastic and meaningful brand ambassadors: that company's own employees.

Enter YouEarnedIt. Led by Autumn Manning, YouEarnedIt is a flexible employee engagement platform, touting an ability to incentivize employees with meaningful rewards in real-time.

"We set out to completely redefine engagement for employees everywhere, finally driving measurable value for companies in terms of culture and various performance metrics" says Manning, the company's co-founder and CEO. "Our software drives a deeper connection among coworkers, reinforces positive behaviors that drive company and cultural ROI, and creates a workforce that moves in the same direction toward a larger mission and vision. A natural outcome is quantifiable improvements in operational metrics, Glassdoor scores, and an enthusiastic group of employee brand ambassadors that give more than any job description could ask for."

Engaging employees through workplace gamification can have unanticipated benefits. Take Bazaarvoice, for example. This large-scale marketing and advertising software company struggled with employee engagement rates and retaining its "small business" feel as it expanded to over one-thousand employees. Furthermore, they identified wellness as a company value, but participation in their established wellness programs was rare.

They enlisted the help of YouEarnedIt's desktop solution to combat these issues, incentivizing employees with wellness-based rewards through its intuitive platform. In turn, the company saw a seventy-five percent increase in peer-to-peer recognition with twenty-four percent of employees having redeemed more than eighty wellness rewards within just one year of implementation.

As a result, Bazaarvoice anticipates a direct influence to premiums and medical costs. YouEarnedIt's programs had created a symbiotic relationship between engagement and company-valued behavior, increasing the ROI on employees while also ensuring they are healthy and motivated at work.

All the while, Bazaarvoice has created a community of raving ambassadors.

Given the positive impact, it makes sense that customer retention rates are, on average, eighteen percentage points higher when employees are engaged. Understanding that employee engagement and customer satisfaction are inextricably linked makes investing in employee engagement an essential marketing endeavor. Thus, when brands want to strengthen engagement with the public, they'd be smart to turn their attention inside.