When there are no bonuses paid out but the CEO arrives in a new Mercedes – whether it was purchased via new money or old, that’s a disconnect.
When there are layoffs that are sudden and not communicated transparently but the SLT still takes their options, that’s a failure. When promotions are promised and requirements met but no movement occurs, that stresses the employee experience.
A wise person once told me while walking through a busy production environment that you see with two eyes here and when you do, remember that 50, 100, more, are seeing you.
Today, brand dominates – it is of utmost importance that companies and their stakeholders are seen and seen positively. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, the maintenance of image. Increasingly true is the requirement of maintaining that brand internally as well lest it be abandoned.
This abandonment is seen in resignations, a spike in sudden and not-so-sudden exits, the quiet and the deafening. And too often it comes down to a failure of Senior Leadership to be cognizant of the internal brand, of image, of communication and currency. So what can be done?
If we consider a company having a user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) for its employees the same way it does for clients and customers, the experience and interface become critical – so critical they should feature highly on any corporate risk register.
At this time let us set UI aside and focus on the criticality of Experience.
What defines the UX for an employee? Liken it to an app on your phone – if something you were previously comfortable with now required additional hoops leapt through, critical information entered, and changed the character of its delivery, you would delete it. This is especially true if you paid into it and it promised you a 20% discount on movie tickets but then didn’t deliver.
You would abandon it for an alternative or download Netflix. The same is true in the corporate world. Employees experience the company they work for by receiving information, by working in and into a system, and by engaging with the business from mission and vision down through the tasks of their day.
What does this failure look like as far as internal brand? It looks like a lack of transparency, a lack of honesty. It looks like not doing what is promised, and it looks like change without warning.
Avoiding this phenomenon requires transparency, it requires knowledge, and it requires recognition of the whole – that internal brand consists of everyone internally. If those tenets are pursued faithfully and honestly, and the human psychological need for belonging and recognition is satisfied, there will be a significant decrease in the resignations prompted by this disconnect.
If a fraction of the external marketing budget is pivoted to internal brand awareness, if senior leadership takes the time to engage – and better yet, engage by shadowing or positioning themselves in the UX – there is feedback that will provide the building blocks for strengthening and growing the health of any business and reducing the attrition caused by this common failure.