Public furore over Alan Jones’ recent comments highlighted how important it is to align your team’s personal values with that of the wider business.

Intensive media coverage, public outcry, social media campaigns and online commentary forced many brands associated with Jones to re-evaluate their willingness to be associated with his once-formidable reputation, sending a clear message to their employees about the types of behaviour they will and will not support.

We’re not talking ‘feel good stuff’ here. What we’re talking about is whether your workplace positively impacts the lives of those who work in it, and vice versa.

Reluctance to engage the team, share the company’s vision and values and failure to celebrate the contribution of your people will make the difference between employees being brand ambassadors or detractors.

Living the brand

In an industry where reputation is everything, the top tier candidates we deal with are becoming increasingly selective about the brands, people and management styles they will and will not be associated with.

It’s crucial to ensure brand values are meaningful and relevant to those who work within them to achieve a shared purpose.

In a fast-moving world where information is readily spread and boundaries between personal and business are continually blurred, it pays to ensure your staff are aware of what the business stands for as they, knowingly or not, act as ambassadors for the brand you’ve fought so hard to build and manage.

When bringing in new talent, recruit according to the brand values. If new recruits are on board to achieve these it creates more believers in the organisation and increases the likelihood of achieving a shared vision.

Having a clear set of values consistently communicated throughout the business will instill faith in staff that you genuinely want them to achieve their very best.

A higher purpose

Some would argue that marketing professionals aren’t saving lives. But believing you are making a difference can make a heck of a difference between ticking the box and really going above and beyond for a client.

Consider whether you are providing and fostering a workplace that provides a higher purpose. Not literally, but on a day-to-day, ‘I feel I am making a difference’ kind of way.

There’s more to people than just doing their jobs. People need to encourage and motivate one another. Including colleagues in the decision-making process, encouraging brand champions to inspire others and leading by example can all make the difference between engagement and disengagement. Making staff more engaged and involved in management solutions ensure they feel there is a higher purpose and that they’re a key part of your success.

Asking for feedback is another big one, overlooked too often. Taking the time to hear the thoughts and perspectives from others within the organisation, particularly those far removed from your own role, sends a strong message about the value these individuals contribute to the wellbeing of the organisation.

A team focus

It’s not the management, but the team that realises success in any organisation. The same creativity you apply to campaigns needs to be applied to bringing out the best in your team.

Think more widely than the ‘tick the box’ stuff here. Ask yourself, are you really creating a workplace that fosters creativity and innovation amongst your team? And more importantly, can you afford to lose quality and rare talent because of potential disengagement?

I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard those in senior management positions tell me they’ve been too busy working on their product brands, or in agencyland, on the brands, values and messaging of their clients, to focus on fostering a positive, healthy and ultimately more productive working environment in their own team.

Sounds nuts, doesn’t it? But think about it. You’re so busy managing your own brands or planning campaigns for clients that you believe will change the world, you risk overlooking the workforce that can bring those great ideas to life.

Put your own ego aside. Step back and think about how important everyone’s purpose is in the business and what role they play in achieving those goals.

Hard won, easily lost

These days, brands have to work smarter at staying relevant and top of mind. The same can be said for an evolving workplace. It can take years to build an environment that champions team successes and just one action to send the wrong message.

The art of reputation management is a delicate thing, hard won and easily lost. Don’t lost sight of the bigger picture. A brand needs to stay honest, genuine and stay grounded. If they are, everything else will follow suit.

 

Christine Khor
BY Christine Khor ON 21 November 2012
Christine Khor is the managing director of Chorus Executive, specialists in talent management and recruitment services for sales, marketing and communications.