Berna Özdemirkan

July-August 2016 – Brandmap: 

Employer reputation and recognition is inarguably important for a company to attract good applicants. On the other hand, it is also important for this external perception to match with the internal perception of employer. I am sure you don’t want to hear the word “millennial” anymore so I don’t want to use it, but the expectations of the new graduates are different from your existing employees. This is partly because they don’t have enough work experience. If you recruit a lot of new graduates it is highly possible that you find yourself facing a must-manage situation.

New graduates need some time to adapt to business life. It takes time for them to adapt to the company culture and separate the right from wrong. If you have a little number of new graduates, they can manage to adapt as they gain their first experience among seniors. However if there is a big group of new graduates, they may prefer creating their own culture rather than learning the culture of the senior staff. This may result in a conflict between the new and old employees. It is likely that those senior employees with 7 to 10 years of experience may forget about their own junior years and judge this new generation to be selfish, spoiled or aggressive. Most probably, their managers used to make the same comment about them 10 years ago.

It proves to be a difficult task to understand and manage this young people who report to them. They may even think “Should I manage the business or deal with this kid?” At this point, HR interferes only to hear both parties complain about each other.  It is difficult to be the mediator and they should not take sides. Both sides are right and wrong in certain aspects and it is HR’s duty to help them discover these aspects and take action accordingly.

It is a must to understand the new generation. You need to ask yourselves some questions.

Is our perspective biased?

Is every new generation employee the same?

What is going on in the changing world?

What should we do to understand the new generation without judgment?

How to approach them? How to empathize with them? How to communicate with them?

How to motivate them?

What do they expect? How to provide feedback?

How to lead them?

Directors should find answers to these questions with the help of HR.

But what is the main goal behind this effort? You need to work hard because internal perception of the company is essential to support your external strong image. Perception moves from the inside out and you have to achieve this to be able to position and sustain your Employer Branding correctly. The 2016 survey shows that no particular company is dominant on the “Best Companies to Work For” List anymore. What the participants value most when it comes to preferring a company is “Employee Value”. “Career and Advancement Opportunity” and “Company Reputation” come next. This means that the time and investment spent on these 3 issues are very important in securing the external perception.

Employees think that they are worthless and their directors are insincere because they have conflicting decisions; and approaches change on a daily basis. Actions that help solve the problems quickly and temporarily prove to bring negative outcomes in the long run. It is crucial to keep track of the internal perception and act accordingly in order to maintain a strong Employer Brand. How could you do it?

First of all, you need to carry out Employee Engagement and Motivation Surveys.

For low-scoring units or positions you need to drill down with focus groups or workshops as surveys won’t be enough.

You need to give feedback to the employees about the results of these surveys and focus groups.

You need to perform and analyze the exit surveys not for the sake of doing it but in order to interpret the results and take correct actions based on those results.

You should never consider this to be someone else’s problem. One person’s problem or dissatisfaction can affect those around him/her and they can think that:  “It is not happening to me now but one day it might, as the management did not take any action about it so I cannot see my future in this company.”

Employee value seems to be a very broad subject, however it doesn’t require such an expensive action to take. It’s all about human value. Think about the implementations you made. If you canceled the New Year’s dinner due to budgeting and sent the management team to a 5-star hotel for a strategy meeting, your employees will know about it.  This is a small example of why one feels worthless. You can reconsider the implementations in your company in this respect.

Investment on employees is equivalent to investment on the company’s reputation. The stronger your company reputation is the easier it will be for you to dodge the bullets and make your Employee Brand stronger.