You might have seen our new photography competition launch recently, aimed at changing the image of manufacturing. It got me thinking…
If you stopped and took a snapshot of your company what would it say? Is it a truly global brand? Does it reflect the 21st century in terms of employee diversity?
Does it promote engagement whether amongst staff or the local community? Does it make the most of people’s talents? Does it have a clear perspective on what it stands for, or is the picture slightly blurred and fuzzy?
These are important questions to ask now, partly because the Equality Act has imposed more obligations on employers in terms of how they recruit and treat their staff. But also because in an increasingly competitive and global world, where corporate reputations can be undone in less than 24 hours, ensuring that your company is “doing what it says on the tin” is vital.
What makes and sells your products - your employees – represents your employee brand and it is this, as well as your products that customers are buying into.
The importance of employee brand and its effect on corporate reputation is aptly showed by BP’s management of the oil spillage. It has not only cost them financially, but may in the long term also affect how either prospective or current employees feel about the company and its values.
So when British companies are competing with the emerging economies of China, Russia and India – doing this effectively requires an understanding of what makes these cultures’ employee brand.
Having a workforce that reflects or understands this will go some way to making this easier. Your people are ambassadors for your products - so recruiting and retaining skilled people from a diverse background makes good business sense.
Being an employer of choice in an increasingly competitive marketplace is not only about attracting the right people but also how to best engage and retain them. Engaged employees are more likely to deliver good customer service and thereby increase customer loyalty. Look at all parts of your company and consider whether you are providing opportunities for everyone to shine – whether it is more women in senior positions or managing an ageing workforce.
Check whether your people management is living up to your brand - one that reflects the customer base and preferences that you are selling into and from which you are attempting to gain market share. Only then will how you see yourself become how others see you.
Find out more about the photography competition at www.eef.org.uk/photo