How do the following recent headlines regarding workforce policies and practices impact corporate brand?
- Netflix to Offer Unlimited Parental Leave
- Intel Invests $300 Million to Improve Its Workplace Diversity
- Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace
Clearly changes in the workforce have the potential to be brand-enhancing or brand-marring. It’s important that businesses contemplate how people management policies will be perceived in the public domain. Consider these three ways to create a stronger brand through people management.
Brand Tip #1 – Include a marketing liaison on human resources policy teams
The Marketing Department is commonly where the best understanding of marketplace trends lie. Marketers keep up with the latest trends, including changes in the demographics and psychographics of the population. Having a marketing liaison on human resources policy teams guarantees that this knowledge is front and center as an organization considers policy changes. A marketing liaison can provide input to the team to also ensure that any changes that are made align with the corporate image and brand. He or she can assist in developing strategic verbiage that would be well-received if human resource policies are shared externally. And, a marketing liaison can offer guidance on policies regarding external communications for customer-facing employees. Having a marketing liaison at the human resource table can help produce stronger brand-consistent policies.
Brand Tip #2 – Develop a clear social media policy for employees
As social media becomes more integrated into everyday conversations, employees—who often identify the company they work for in their social profiles—have an opportunity to represent (or misrepresent) the company. Therefore, businesses should have clearly defined and communicated guidelines for social media. A social media policy provides guidance that aligns, as much as possible, with company-managed social media pages and accounts. A common and sensible policy includes requesting that employees, who identify with a company but who are not managing company social media accounts, note that their posts are their own personal opinion. Clear guidance can help employees steer clear of brand-marring blunders.
Brand Tip #3 – Hire well
Attitude can be as important as aptitude when hiring employees. Certainly you want to hire for the competency needed to get the job done. But, as you identify qualified candidates, your next layer of analysis should be screening for character. Searching for candidates with a positive, hardworking and ethical temperament can minimize unwarranted strain on a company’s image and brand. Similarly, it is important to screen for cultural fit. Let’s define culture fit not as the homogeneity of the workforce but rather the ability to adapt behavior to effectively navigate and thrive in a particular environment. It is a delicate but important distinction between sameness and adaptability.
As we move deeper into a service economy, the workforce of a company has a greater impact on the company’s overall image. Make sure your workforce policies support creating a stronger brand.