10 de July de 2012


What makes a staff member choose to work in my company?

Is it position? Is it wage? Is it benefits? Is that enough?

Nowadays, the number of qualified people isn’t enough for all the requirements that companies have. We’ve got more vacancies than talented people to fill them.

The power is in the hands of people.

It is at this time that companies with well-structured branding and, therefore, a strong corporate culture, are the ones that attract and retain more talent.

In a world where people are over-informed, there’s triumph in transparency, and generations hold names like (X, Y, Z), how do you prepare yourself?

The American business, Zappos, seems to have some answers. The brand that sells shoes and delivers much more than products, was purchased by Amazon and became a reference for this issue due to its innovative methods concerning personnel management. Zappos’ corporate culture, unlike so many other businesses, is experienced daily by staff members who feel extremely engaged and are passionate about the brand. This is evident through the selection process, which identifies candidates possessing the company’s essence and values as a decisive issue for hiring. To ensure this happens, Zappos offers newcomers US$ 2,000.00 to leave the corporation on their first day at the job, but new staff members are already so thrilled with things being built there, that they turn down the offer. They do so because they know they have found much more than a good job.

Food for thought:

Is it clear to society what the purpose of your brand is? What is the legacy it intends to leave to the world?

Do your staff members know the Brand Essence? What makes the company’s heart beat and causes employees and everyone involved to beat to the same rhythm?

If responses are not on the tip of your tongue, it may be the time to reexamine the route. We are in the era of choice. And, in this era, external communication alone isn’t enough. We have to practice what we preach.

A good example of this idea is the Mayo Clinic, which started up in 1863 in a small town in the United States and now offers medical care to millions of people at its three, world-famous facilities.

Founded by Dr. William Worrall Mayo, the clinic always has had at its core “putting patients’ needs first.” It was started with this premise because its founder and leader believed that is how medicine should work. That is also how he taught his children and successors in the clinic to view healing.

Just like Dr. Mayo shared his valuable lesson with his family and friends, several other doctors, nurses, and employees do the same today.

Millions of patients and their relatives tell stories that confirm that at the Mayo Clinic, patients’ needs really do come first. Starting with choosing to use simple language so that patients understand specific details about their treatment, up to a wedding ceremony taking place in the clinic so the bride’s mother, under treatment in the clinic, could participate in such a special occasion.

The other thousands of people who currently work there, or have worked there in the past, might reinforce that the essence and the values of the clinic gave them a reason to work and a deeper meaning to their daily activities. The outcome of this essence translates into excellent work and team bonding. For 148 years, this reputation has been built up through spontaneous and word-of-mouth advertising, communicating the power of that brand.

In the era of choice, brands with a clear value proposal have more power and influence over people, staff members included.

According to the book “Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic,” whenever a value becomes part of the DNA of a staff member, not only does it start guiding the way the daily job is performed, it also grants employees with the power and moral authority to cope with unique situations. They invoke, on their own, an authority based on values.

It’s in this context that leadership plays a fundamental role. Perpetuating the brand’s essence starts with a leader. And what makes a good leader? More and more, I see schizophrenic leaders. Competition, greed, and the everlasting search for financial results make leaders leave behind the brand’s essence. It’s the never-ending struggle between short and long-term issues. Good leaders inspire people to meet their goals. They put themselves in other people’s position and are aware of the impact of their attitudes on others. Lots of times I see a mismatch between “preach” and “practice.” Investments in people must be truthful. In order to achieve the perpetuation of a company’ essence, working on the brand is not enough. Rather, place it in the Brand Guides and provide this training to the team. “Preach” and “practice” must be truthful. A constructive leader accepts differences, is connected to the real world, and knows how to make a difference either inside or outside the company.

Nowadays, it does not work having only an excellent market perception of the brand. I see companies spending millions on external communication and investing too little in internal communication.

It is fundamental to understand that corporate culture makes the difference in retaining talent. This is where choice becomes a simple thing, because there is a true connection between “preach” and “practice.”

Make your choice.