This article was updated on July 17, 2018.
As an HR leader, your primary role is to guide, coach and lead your organization's workforce. But have you considered that one of your secondary roles is to manage company perception? How people perceive your business not only impacts its position in the marketplace, but also the talent you recruit and retain.
Luckily, there are ways your HR team can play a bigger role in ensuring the outside perception of your organization is positive.
Connecting HR and Your Workforce
The ADP Research Institute® study, Human Capital Management's Employee Disconnect: A Global Snapshot, shows a continuing trend of HR teams being disconnected with employees at a global level. This can tarnish company perception both internally and externally, especially when it affects employee performance. It could be the result of how internal issues are addressed, the effectiveness of internal communication or how employees are managed.
The reality is each and every employee at an organization acts as an unofficial spokesperson for the business. So how can you ensure the messages your employees share cast your business in a positive light?
You can start by focusing on these four areas:
- Discover opportunities to enhance work-life balance.
- Foster open, two-way communication in every feasible situation.
- Provide a clear vision for both employee and the advancement of the organization.
- Encourage employees to share the company story outside of work.
Cultivating Outside Connections
Is your organization an active player at industry events? Trade show and conference involvement is a way to share your organization's story with potential customers and advocates, in addition to other benefits, according to an article in the business and marketing thought leadership site Business 2 Community.
Line item expenses at these events often fall under the realm of HR because of training and continuing education opportunities. As an HR leader, you can advocate for increased budgetary allowances for industry events. In addition, you can act as a liaison with other departments whose budgets also contribute to these events. By doing so, you not only increase participation and the spread of positive news about your organization, but you also enable individual employees to earn necessary credits and better themselves for future advancement — another key driver of your organization's future.
HR and Branding
Branding — those images and words that reflect what your organization is all about — can make or break company perception. And HR should play an important role in building that brand.
Specifically, you should think about how your branding is reflected in your recruitment efforts, workplace and involvement in social media. If your branding revolves around innovation, does your company culture reflect that? Are your branding campaigns focused on technology — and does your staff have access to the newest and latest equipment? How is your company reflected on social media, both formally through company channels and informally through individual employees?
As an HR team within the broader corporate realm, you own, in whole or at least in part each of these areas. So you can develop strategic initiatives to ensure your work in HR reflects company branding, and that your workforce is aligned to use that unified branding to its fullest.
As you connect with your workforce, if you encourage external opportunities and uphold the organization's brand, you'll naturally build internal promoters. Additionally, your work to enhance outside company perception will have a positive impact on your future opportunities and environment.
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