We all know the classic expression, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. And yet inevitably, we do. We are drawn to those that stand out most on the shelf or perhaps use a font or colour that we like. Sometimes we may pick a book just because it’s made it onto a best sellers list or a friend has recommended it.
We make perceptions based on visuals or hearsay rather than really knowing if it’s the right book for us.
The same can be said for the companies we choose to work for. Often we hear people talking about a company’s brand and the cool things that company has done. It doesn’t necessarily mean they know too much about the company as a place to work. Obviously finding a job criteria that speaks to you and excites you is a must, but the same level of importance should be put on the workplace itself if we hope to find a lasting fit.
We need to find a company that has a working culture for us, the individual.
Companies are discussed as brands. Individuals are discussed as characters. What is the link between the two? The individual needs to understand the branding, needs to understand what kind of a workplace they will be going into and whether it is right for them.
Just because you like Adidas shoes, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will like working for Adidas. The branding of a company is important for its business, but the workplace culture it provides is much more important for the individuals. Richard Branson said,
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”.
This is the idea that treating your employees well will incur longer lasting relationships between companies and their employees. In a society of rapid overturn and an unsettled job market, the difference between retaining employees and losing them will be found in the workplace culture a company can create, rather than just in the branding.
In the same way that individuals need to understand the job and company they will be working for, a company needs to be understanding of the characteristics of its employees.
A company might provide a modern office with all of the latest gadgets and bean bag chairs for its meetings, but then ask its employees to work sixty hour weeks. The company needs to understand the needs of its employees and be sure to provide a working environment that suits each individual.
Maybe the interview process needs an overhaul. Rather than just sitting in a meeting room and discussing the job role and credentials, the prospective candidate should have a chance to explore their prospective workplace. An interview is a chance for both parties to see if there’s a fit and yet the candidate does not seem to have the same scope for scrutinizing their potential employer. Too often businesses are losing employees after a short period resulting in a huge financial loss. If the interview process gave the individual the chance to gauge whether this job and workplace was really for them, maybe then the company’s retention rates would increase.
Branding and characteristics are two identifying terms that often depict a surface level analysis. To create a workplace where companies hire the correct people for the job and employees are happy and invest in a long term future, it is important for both parties to delve a little deeper.
Customers buy into the brand, employees should buy into a great workplace where they can be valued as an individual.
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With help from Cecilia Ryan.
Published May 30th, 2016