In these days of a full-blown talent war, building your company’s brand image as an employer is extremely crucial. But companies often give very little importance to what seem to be inconsequential issues to their top managers who are usually completely focused only on the top line and the bottom line at the exclusion of other crucial issues. This article takes a look at some common mistakes.
A joke despite being a joke can help us focus on a very significant issue that can make or mar a company’s brand equity in the talent market. Provided by a management friend, let me share it with you:
Once upon a time a highly successful Human Resources manager met with an accident and died. Her soul arrived in heaven where she was received at the gates by St Peters.
“Welcome to Heaven,” he said. “Before you get settled in though, we have a small problem. You see, strangely enough, we’ve never once had a Human Resources Manager make it this far and we’re not really sure what to do with you.”
“No problem, just let me in,” said the woman.
“Well, I’d like to, but I have higher orders. What we’re going to do
is let you have a day in Hell and a day in Heaven and then you can choose whichever one you want to spend an eternity in.”
“Actually, I think I’ve made up my mind, I prefer to stay in Heaven,” said the woman.
“Sorry, we have rules…”
And with that St Peters put the executive in an elevator and it went down-down-down to hell.
The doors opened and she found herself stepping out onto the putting green of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club and standing in front of her were all her friends – fellow executives that she had worked with and they were well dressed in evening gowns and cheering for her. They ran up and kissed her on both cheeks and they talked about old times. They played an excellent round of golf and at night went to the country club where she enjoyed an excellent steak and lobster dinner.
She met the Devil who was actually a really nice guy (kind of cute) and she had a great time telling jokes and dancing. She was having such a good time that before she knew it, it was time to leave. Everybody shook her hand and waved goodbye as she got on the elevator.
The elevator went up-up-up and opened back up at the gates of heaven and found St Peters waiting for her.
“Now it’s time to spend a day in heaven,” he said. So she spent the next 24 hours lounging around on clouds and playing the harp and singing. She had a great time and before she knew it her 24 hours were up and St Peters came and got her.
“So, you’ve spent a day in hell and you’ve spent a day in heaven. Now you must choose your eternity.” The woman paused for a second and then replied, ‘Well, I never thought I’d say this, I mean, Heaven has been really great and all, but I think I
had a better time in Hell.”
So St Peters escorted her to the elevator and again she went
down-down-down back to Hell. When the doors of the elevator opened she found herself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and filth. She saw her friends were
dressed in rags and were picking up the garbage and putting
it in sacks.
The Devil came up to her and put his arm around her.
“I don’t understand,” stammered the woman, “yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a country club and we ate lobster and we danced and had a great time. Now all there is is a wasteland of garbage and all my friends look miserable.”
The Devil looked at her smiled and said “Yesterday we were recruiting you, today you’re an employee.”
The moral of the story: never make the mistake of giving a bloated and rosy picture of your company while recruiting. Let the prospective new recruit know exactly what is in store for him or her in terms of working conditions, leave rules, any fine print in the compensation package or employee contract document, canteen and refreshment facilities, appearance policies if any, any other standard rules or procedures that may be specific to your particular industry especially in case the new recruit is coming from another industry, etc.
In short, try to give the new recruit as much of a complete idea as possible about the new organization that she/he is joining. It is also often a good idea to take the new recruit around the office to show her/him the exact workplace where she will be assigned – the particular cubicle or office area where she will sit and the colleagues she will have around her.
Many companies abroad do this as a standard policy to ensure that the employee can feel comfortable and be productive right from the day she/he joins.
You will be surprised to find out how much of an impact that such an approach can have on both the attrition and retention rates as well as on your company’s brand equity as an employer.
Ultimately, HR is all about human relations. Never neglect that in all your work, especially when recruiting – usually a time when you as a HR manager will get the best opportunity to make the first impression as an employer on a new employee. Remember that the first impression is usually the last one, or, at least, the one that lasts!