THE HUMAN BRAND
When it comes to building an Employer Brand the quintessential principle is value. Value in this context is a big word. It encapsulates the value the company brings to the market place, the value contribution to existing and future talent and the concept of reciprocity as that talent contributes back to business. Not only this, but the philanthropic value that a healthy organization provides to the society in which it operates. To institute and extract such value cannot come from a sexy marketing campaign only. A core, authentic exploration of why a business exits, what its value system is and the crafting of a people community within one’s business secures true value and a true Employer, or should I say Human Brand.
To define community in this context I have tagged poignant elements of a few typical dictionary definitions:
… ‘a group of people … together and practising common ownership’
… ‘unified by common interests’
… ‘people considered collectively, especially in the context of social values and responsibilities’
… ‘worker or resource designed to serve’
… ‘the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common’
… ‘joint ownership or liability’
Seven pillars define a robust people community within business.
Six of which centre around ‘common interest’, ‘values’, ‘ownership’ or what we like to call cause. How do you define your business cause? The ‘why’ of your work? Every business has a culture that echoes its creed. Spoken or unspoken. So how will you build your believers? What is common to all? What value proposition (both to market and to your talent) is shared, celebrated and non-negotiable?
This is not to be fabricated but discovered through introspection and dialogue. Usually the initial dream that began the business holds the clue. It is at this point that authenticity is critical. Be what you are. If high performance then be the A Type tribe. If you are innovative then be the techno/engineering tribe. Turned on by compliance? Then be the King III tribe. The idea is to draw out what is positive and allow it to expand and diminish any negative cultural elements while driving the true vision of the business.
Every community initiates. Steady and strategic energy is required in onboarding new initiates so that they not only catch the heart, the pulse but all the relevant information. New hires must acclimatize. They cannot wonder aimlessly clutching an employee handbook or worse wondering where their equipment and the bathrooms are. Their first hearing must be the story of your business, but no longer as an outsider looking in but one who is now around the fire with the rest of the tribe. Initiation must be designed in the context of your value proposition and ensure robust knowledge transfer.
Communities care in one way or another. There is little propensity for engagement and contribution when humans are hungry, over tired, stressed, breathing in toxic fumes, straddling toilets to avoid disease or find themselves unsupported when life dishes out trauma and difficulty.
Reciprocity. This is the fundamental premise of reward. Community members that contribute are rewarded. Celebration is quintessential to building healthy people communities in business. There are blanket reward structures but why not entertain individualization – a store of rewards people can choose from? What languages of appreciation do you use? There is never only one.
The world is a big place. If a community is insulated – it does not grow. The world is characterized by great need. If people community within business cannot rally for something bigger than itself – it loses impetus. An employee community only becomes truly sustainable when it considers something much larger than itself. If reward puts the happiness index into the yellow, philanthropy will send it into the far ends of the green.
When humans connect in a real way – things happen. Collaboration happens. Trust happens. Fun happens. Work hard, play hard. Staff want to achieve things together. How does one create leaders that lead with connection in mind? The first step is to know the importance of it. Collectively mining the genius in each person – connecting one mind to another. Valuing both minds. Now considered the largest population in history, moving into their prime productive and spending years – how does the millennial connect? As the next generation of business leaders, will you really deny them digital access and expect them to connect with your business? Do you believe that their digital networking is less effective than the double scotch on the 19th hole? Business needs to be cognisant of diversity as well as the deep need humans have for relationship.
‘In an interview with Dr. Mitch Printein’s about his course on the psychology of popularity, he mentioned that there has been research that shows that pain centers in our brain become activated when we are at risk of being isolated. This is because, in an evolutionary perspective, isolation would be the worse thing we could do to survive.’ Disconnection is not smart for business trying to survive in a competitive world.
Contribution must be defined, measured and reciprocated. Ultimately the aim of a people community within business is to have the humans connect in such a way that the sustained relationships, the shared ownership, responsibility and liability, the common cause and extended reach is business contribution. You get what you pay for and so much more and the employees … get paid and so much more.
The above premise is what Human Accent endeavours to create when building an Employer Brand alongside the effective use of Digital and technological enablement, as well as deliberate and strategic use of people analytics. And then, we put on the sexy dress. We market. We integrate the message for the world to see. We tell the story. We tell talent they have a tribe waiting.
Over the next while, we will unpack each pillar in detail and dive into some technical detail as well as tangible handles for business results. Human Accent unapologetically upholds the importance of the intangibles but equally the tandem with your tangibles. Parallel tracks – people and profit. If you are not managing the intangibles, you are not leading people, you are following a process and hoping for the best. If you only meddle in the intangible, you become a hippie farm – great for hanging out, but little gets done. So, let’s keep it real. We are about people and we are about business.