In my previous article on Employer Branding, I discussed as to why employers should focus on the difference between organisational culture and climate. Then, go on to look at Talent attraction as well as retention as a contributor to brand image of the organisation.
Building an effective climate and culture
Certain organisations pitch themselves as rigid/lenient that employees already know what they are in for, once they join the organisation. These are most typically seen in the armed forces, hospitals, and NGOs.
For start-ups or organisations that want to shape their employer brand, they have to consistently evaluate their culture and climate and make changes accordingly.
Some of the ways to do it would be:
Ensure there is communication in all ways possible without any gaps and employees are well informed at all times.
- Communicating externally to the market about the company, benefits and its working style.
- Communicating internally to the employees by inducing them to values & mission; changing business & work styles; increased manpower; policies and procedures; need and respect for rules; respect for co-workers; respect for diversity and setting the expectations right.
Values, Expectations, Norms
The company has to assert its values by having the leaders demonstrate it time and again so that the employees model them as well. It has to set expectations clearly for all employees belonging to all cadres about decision making, code of conduct, and about administrative & functional leadership as well.
The company has to establish the below-mentioned norms either by being suggestive or overt.
- How they have to deal with clients
- How they are to present themselves at various times
- Are there specific times allotted for recreation, meetings & work
- Consequences of fraternisation
- Ethical behaviour
Policies and Rules
Policies and rules have to be in the form of written documentation.This is required by law and a company can be reprimanded severely if it neglects. Corrective actions can be employed objectively as per policies and they serve as testimony when a company is involved in legal issues with its disruptive employees.
The company is to be very clear in terms of the degree of flexibility it gives and restrictions it imposes on employees. For instance, restrictions are relatively more in a factory set-up than in a company that is a creative agency.
Employees should be given opportunities to review the policies and suggest changes. In case the company doesn’t want participative decision-making, there should be a clear explanation of why the policy is rigid. To sustain a good brand reputation, the company cannot afford to be hypocritical.
Many employee-centered programmes can be formulated: employee engagement activities; reward, career development & corporate social responsibility programmes; events that celebrate company’s milestones; and bring more initiatives from the side of the employees. They foster employee’s belongingness to the organisation and encourage organisational-citizenship-behaviour (OCB).
Many companies work on establishing employee-stock-ownership-plans (ESOP). Other ways of rewarding employees when they bring businesses to the company or making employees brand advocates by sharing crucial information with them also helps. Empathy and support for the employees to sustain themselves and their families also make the employees committed to an organisation.
For example, L&T, Mumbai tailored a CSR program, whose beneficiaries were employees and their families. It focused on workplace counselling, de-addiction counselling, health camps for employees and their families; academic scholarships for employees’ families; family insurance etc, recreation days for employees and their families. Start-ups could focus on smaller level initiatives to remodel such programs.
Another start-up provides skill-based training for employees, allows employees to attend seminars and workshops on work days where the employees equally bear the costs.
An organisation has to first sort the way employees perceive its culture and climate; assess the results and then modify to suit its needs. Communication strategies can be employed to achieve this.
Where there are certain aspects of culture to be changed, they have to be approached by first addressing the climate which could mould the culture. Otherwise, a sound change management strategy has to be put in place.
Then, marketing strategies can be built to address and assert the brand’s reputation outside and inside. Or rebrand the company to internal (employees, stakeholders) and external clients (candidates, customers, investors, media etc).