Brand matters. It really does. At the beginning of the year, I accepted a learning and development role with a major not-for-profit brand here in Australia.
I happily took the significantly reduced pay to work for an organization that had such a fantastic public profile. As I started my role, I was filled with pride and wanted to let everyone know that I had ditched the corporate world for a kinder, better place to work.
That lasted about 3 weeks.
I then began to realize that something was horribly wrong. I remember at my induction being somewhat overwhelmed by the guiding principles of the organization. There they were on the wall in the boardroom – large plaques with explanatory notes of each principle underneath. A significant amount of time was spent explaining these during the induction process and I wondered how the principles would be upheld internally.
As I said, it took about 3 weeks for me to find out that the principles were not upheld very robustly internally. In fact, if I am brutally honest, this organization has a pretty poor track record of treatment of its internal people. This shows in the retention rate (I won’t name a figure here but the number of people who resign in the first year is extremely high) and the general day to day conduct of some internal employees.
I personally experienced some of this first hand, where I had some very challenging and highly unprofessional interactions with several people. The end result of these experiences was my resignation after 6 months in the role. It doesn’t really end there though.
At the moment I am still grieving for the organization I thought I had joined, I am coming to terms with being let down by people who I assumed were better than they turned out to be. The whole experience has left a bitter taste and has impacted the way I see the not-for-profit sector.
While I am professional, amongst my friends I am not exactly singing the praises of the organization I worked for and I would never recommend the organization as an employer of choice.
My point in telling this story is to draw attention to organizational branding and to share that it is possible for an organization to have a brilliant external brand while internally they are struggling. This is unfortunate for those potential employees who are drawn to an organization based on its external brand (which would be most of us).
Now, consider your own organization and think about the following questions:
- How do your external clients see your organization?
- How do your internal employees see your organization?
- Do your internal and external brands match?
What do the answers have to say for your organization? How would current and past employees answer the same questions?
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