In truth, my first break into the corporate world was with an Indian IT company. I’d heard such scary stories about what it was like to work in the corporate sector. Journalists always said if you moved, you sold your soul to the dark world.
Indeed, I was scared. What made it even challenging was I came from a pretty sheltered team. Re – my first blog, where I still had my rose-tinted glasses on after five years of solid work in business journalism.
I came from a background of standing up for what’s right, learning to question things, be ethical, and think. Almost all these things were complete no-nos in the team I stepped into. There were cliques, groups, and ways in which you had to behave to be ‘in’ the team.
Nothing grossly wrong except that I felt like I’d stepped back into college, where you had the popular gang, and the snooty gang, and the don’t-care gang, etc.
But what really made it worse was I stepped into a very challenging time for the organisation, and the way our manager handled the situation was far from alright. In three months of joining, two of us (new joiners) were called into another room and asked to look out for work. We were shocked thinking we left very good careers behind for something new.
Many months later, the two of us were placed in two different teams, and that’s when things changed for both of us. We got exposed to other managers, and those managers changed the organisation for good, for us.
More often than not, when I look at communication pieces on employer branding, or have reviewed decks on the Employee Value Proposition or the Associate Value Proposition, I always know, at the back of my mind, and with my experience, it’s the manager who will make or break this organisation for you.
We can write the best English, and make a place sound so good, but ultimately in the day and age of social media, you have to have what it takes to really be considered a hot company to work for.
So, it’s an appeal to folks in HR, to please conduct the highest focus groups for the managers. Don’t promote managers who are high performers, but terrible on their teams. Promote all-rounders, even if they’re 60% ready, give folks who really build teams a chance.
Recently, I was delighted to be a part of a street play in office orchestrated by the Training team, where they interrupted our day with a street play. Through an experience of theatre, they broke silos and showed managers and associates alike how to handle the tough appraisal season. I’ve been in at least five mature organisations to know this is the first street play I’ve seen on performance management. It was so effective, it made me think of how we can address employer branding in an out-of-the-box manner.
Here are some quirky ideas:
Go beyond sponsorship
If you want to build a robust talent pipeline, create brand ambassadors who go to colleges from your organisation, and speak as mentors to students. This will be much deeper than providing sponsorship for a college fest and showing your name on campus.
During exams season, can future employers help budding employees through the tough season by showing them they care? Create campaigns around exams or other stressful points for students to build awareness about how you, as an employer, take care of your potential employees.
Millennials stay where they are appreciated, get feedback, and know the organisation is concerned about their communities. It’s important that any organisation who wants to be an employer of choice recognises this and drives its stakes in the ground early on in a college partner.
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