Why HR for branding & culture?
Okay, hear me out. I know that most people only work with the human resources department a few times throughout their career but what if I told you that they are the gateway to everything that matters in your organization? What if I told you that your HR team determines the success or failure of your business, the development of your products and services, and the direction of your brand?
According to Study.com, “Human Resources [is] a critical piece to the branding process. From recruiting the necessary talented workforce to retaining high-performance employees, HR has the potential to make or break the company’s branding. Having the right people at the right time propels a company’s image.”, but is it even more than that?
How can HR influence a brand?
The first and most obvious answer is hiring and recruitment. You’re obviously looking for the best talent within your budget but what other criteria are you looking for when the stack of resumes comes flying in? More and more human resources teams are realizing the need to capture and enforce the brand in their recruitment efforts but is brand essence and alignment part of their hiring process? For the most successful companies the answer is a resounding YES.
If you hire for skill alone you will be more likely to need to fill that position again in the near future…worse, there will be friction that needs to be overcome by the very people who hired the misaligned employee. And the absolute worst case scenario is that your teams don’t believe in the mission or their leadership so they work with malaise and the company eventually fails.
Marketing and sales efforts can only work around and against misaligned culture for so long.
Your brand exists in the heart of the people you hire and exudes from there. Every person you bring into the company should fully align with the values and vision set out by leadership. When this happens, the brand and company grows organically in its desired direction. Sales are built on success stories and not just metrics, service teams care about their customer conversations, marketing campaigns are built on truth and inspiration, and even finance decisions are made with cultural imperatives in mind.
Culture building should come naturally, based on the values of the company. If you advertise to prospective employees that you have a pool table and free snacks in the breakroom, is that because you want it to look fun, or because the business values taking breaks and getting to know one another?
Training & Team Building
A lot of companies employ team building strategies and activities, whether it’s happy hours and Christmas parties, or full off-site excursions with ropes courses. This is all great, and encouraged but how does it relate to your values and vision for the company? When those activities are planned, they should be scrutinized against the core values of the company. What exactly do you want your teams to return to the office with? A feeling of growth and community, renewal of spirit, alignment of goals?
The same questions should be asked around training. When looking at the training budget, is it all for targeted skills or do you also spend time and budget on team alignment, health and wellness, group skill share, or cross-team education?
How to create a killer brand
Your team is your brand!
- Start by making sure your leadership has a clear, distinct, and definable vision and mission with accessible values applied to them.
- Once the values, vision, and mission are agreed upon and outlined, hire first against these imperatives, with skill being secondary to brand and culture fit. Skills can be taught and shaped, values cannot.
- Weave your culture into the company structure. For instance, at the end or beginning of every meeting hold decisions accountable to the mission, vision, and values.
- Develop internal brand experiences that embody the experience you want your customers to have. This can include small team traditions, or company wide celebrations. Just make sure that your leadership team is also taking part or working in alignment with their set out vision.
In summary, your brand is not only the visual representation that goes out to the world, it is the essence of how the inside of your company looks, feels, smells, and operates. The marketing department should be in cahoots with the hr department as well as every other department in the company because a brand starts from the inside and works its way out.