“Your reputation, good or bad, can make you or break you.”
Usually we think of managing a reputation in terms of individuals, but this axiom holds true for companies as much as it does for individuals.
Being known as “a great place to work” is highly desirable. Happy, contented workers are more productive, more considerate towards customers, co-workers, and suppliers—and are less likely to make mistakes.
A company with a good reputation also finds it easier to attract and retain top people. Attracting and retaining that one great person, the one that’s perfect for the job—who is able to create a workable plan and then marshal the troops to execute it—is the difference between merely surviving this recession or being positioned to take off during the coming recovery.
If your company has a poor reputation, the word gets around quickly, making it much harder to hire the best candidates. This leaves you with “B” players; and stuck in the self-perpetuating cycle of an unhappy workplace.
Companies with a poor reputation suffer because they:
- Have difficulty recruiting the people who could help them the most
- Experience high attrition rates and increased recruitment costs of both time and money, and
- Have low employee morale and decreased productivity
Companies with poor reputations suffer the most during a down economy because consumers and business buyers alike are more cautious about with whom they are spending their money. If you lose a few deals or important new customers because people are skeptical about your company, the consequences to your bottom line will be serious.
“Don’t promise what you can’t deliver”
There is often a disconnect between what companies promise as an Employer Brand and what they deliver as an organization. This happens when there is a temptation—to attract higher quality candidates—to overpromise when it comes to the opportunities available.
In business, as in life, what you do is often more important than what you say. And that is why it’s critical to deliver on your Employer Brand Promise. If you can’t deliver the moon and the stars, don’t promise the moon and the stars. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
As a general rule, it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver.
It’s the duty of the HR Leader to assure that the company has the ability to deliver on its Employer Brand… or change the brand promise.
Mistakes in recruiting are costly. They lead to high attrition, lost time, and lost opportunities. It’s a shame because mistakes due to failure to deliver on an Employer Brand Promise are completely avoidable.
Your HR practices should deliver a consistent experience that supports and affirms your promise, not only in recruiting, but as these practices pertain to:
- Development of a compelling and concise Employer Brand
- Skill and competency assessments
- Performance Appraisals
- Career development
- Social events
But what if your current operations are not “sustainable”?
How you separate from the people you no longer need affects your reputation as much as how you attract and retain the people you do need.
This recession has made it difficult for everyone. By the looks of things, it’s not over yet. Difficult choices are being made every day. Sometimes layoffs are the only solution.
Used sparingly and with advanced planning, layoffs can be an organizational lifesaver, but when layoffs are used repeatedly without a thoughtful strategy, they can have a disastrous impact on your company’s effectiveness.
Remember the “golden rule”
If losing a job is frightening during normal times, today it is even worse. A sudden lay off can destroy a family’s financial health and lead to the destruction of the family itself. How you separate your unneeded employees in this economic climate really matters.
Employees, both current and past, will remember their treatment, their severance pay, and whether the employer helped with outplacement services. They’ll remember whether they were treated with dignity, respect, and compassion—or whether they were simply let go with little or no warning.
If layoffs are necessary, you need to separate your employees from your organization with as little drama as possible, and give them a chance to get back on their feet again.
It really matters—to the people who leave, and to the people who remain.
The most important rule to remember is, “Treat others the way you’d want to be treated.”
The bottom line? Your reputation as an employer, good or bad, depends on it.