Brand reputation has always been an influencing factor in a company’s ability to attract and retain top talent—but never more so than in the last few years.
The confluence of events that have reshaped the world of work—the pandemic, a renewed push for social justice, a rising awareness of corporate social responsibility, and the increasing interconnectedness of our world—have all worked together to make how an organization is positioned in the public eye a major factor in the success or failure of its people strategy.
According to recent research from Glassdoor, 86% of women and 67% of men in the United States wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation. That’s a staggering statistic when you think about the current hiring conditions facing employers—from the Great Resignation to “quiet quitting,” HR and recruiting professionals across industries are struggling to get talent in the door, and keep them, in the wake of pandemic-driven shifts. These are also responsible for heightening the focus on brand awareness: As the pandemic prompted more employees to reconsider the purpose of the work that they do, the mission and values of an organization subsequently became more important: For instance, a recent study by Qualtrics found that employees whose values align with that of their employer are nearly three times as likely than others to recommend the organization as an employer; they’re also more engaged and less likely to leave the company.
So, how can organizations avoid brand pitfalls and instead maximize the people potential of a positive public brand? Here are three suggestions:
Take a deep dive into your values:
If your company’s public image isn’t exactly what you would like it to be, it may be time to dig deep into the organization—its mission and values statement—to get to the heart of the problem. A written vision of what the company stands for shouldn’t just be a check-the-box type of “must-have”: The values on which an organization is founded, and the mission that they fuel, should be a living, breathing part of the organization—something that drives the work of employees, managers and leaders every day. When there’s a disconnect there, that could be putting your brand reputation in jeopardy.
Do the culture work:
Just like values and mission, the organizational culture at your company is key to reputation. When employees are excited to come to work—because they feel like they belong, they’re valued and they’re contributing to a greater purpose—they’re able to bring their best selves to their job, which in turn influences customer interactions and, ultimately, public perceptions. But, if the culture does not align with what your workforce is looking for, productivity, engagement and more will suffer. So, take a hard look at your culture—what it feels like to work at the company, informed by everything from performance management to policies—and ensure you’re hearing the voice of your employees if you take on a culture transformation project.
If your employees and customers aren’t recognizing your brand for what you’re hoping it to be, it may require a refresh of your communication strategy. From your internal messaging to your social media to your job postings and more, your brand should be consistent, recognizable and easily conveying who the company is and what it stands for.