I was reminded today of just how important maintenance of a corporate brand is in the employment market. Just like an individual, a company can gain a reputation that can affect its ability to attract the best talent or exploit a business opportunity.
Specifically, this week, people2people received a brief from a company that is looking for sales staff, operating in a highly competitive industry. Understandably, this company was especially keen to secure talent who understand the industry and has experience selling to their competitors. In the example from this week, the company was new to people2people. Our team were keen to assist this new client and started sourcing through our various channels, including our own database, social networks and more traditional methods. What became evident quite swiftly was that many people in the industry were keen to learn more about these opportunities...until the name of the company was mentioned.
Their reputation was so tainted by the way they had previously treated their employees – and, more broadly, their business practices undertaken in the market – that prospective employees were swift to say, 'No thank you.'
Talent pools are not bottomless. Although capital cities in Australia have millions of people, specific markets are small enough that having a poor reputation, for whatever the reason, can severely affect your ability to secure talent. It will be a difficult discussion, but the people2people consultant working with this company will be making a decision about whether they continue assisting this company with their search for talent.
Recruiters are advocates for employers in the market, and, by extension, the reputation of the people2people consultant can also be affected by association.
The consultant will be asking whether they want to be promoting a corporate brand into the employment market that is not highly regarded. The most likely outcome will be a discussion with this company on how we can deal with the questions raised by potential hires. This won't be easy, and, depending on how the conversation progresses, we will be deciding on whether we risk associating the people2people brand integrity with that of this hiring company. How would you rate your corporate brand integrity? Have you thought about asking questions surrounding your brand integrity in your exit interviews or staff surveys? You may be surprised.