Does Your Company Have A Bad Reputation In the Market?

Q. A few years back our company had a bad reputation in the industry. Since then we have changed management and most of the issues are long gone, but our reputation still lingers. We have been told this is affecting our ability to hire people. Recruiters have told us some candidates won’t go forward after hearing the name of our company. How do we go about changing that without spending thousands on a PR firm?

Since the first place most people go after hearing the name of a company is the Web site, I would start there. Most Web sites are all about the company's products or services, other than the “About Us” section which is generally a history lesson on the company.

Consider having a career page, have the CEO do a short video about all the good changes that have happened in the last few years, have current employees give testimonials about the improvements that have taken place, ask a few customers and vendors to be included, and finally share the vision of the company with the readers so they see the difference. Do the same thing on Facebook but here have a dialog with the readers. Let your employees comment and have the CEO comment and reply to comments made by others. You might even hit the issue head-on by stating, ”We know many still view us the way we were a few years back, but take a look at the new company and all of the changes we have implemented to change that reputation.” Let the readers know you know and you have fixed it.

Finally, you will need to get out in the community. Attend networking groups, industry association meetings, conferences and trade shows to promote the “new company.” I would invite recruiters into the facility so they can see and hear the difference. As a recruiter I have had candidates say the same thing to me many times. Knowing the company allows me to address those concerns head-on with candidates. I find candidates open up once they learn the facts about the new company.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Initiating and managing change

People speak a lot about change these days. As you read this, you are exhaling atoms of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen that just an instant before were locked up in solid matter; your stomach, liver, heart, lungs, and brain are vanishing into thin air, being replaced as quickly and endlessly as they are being broken down. The human skin replaces itself once a month, the stomach lining every five days, the liver every six weeks, and the skeleton every three months. To the naked eye, these organs look the same from moment to moment, but they are always in flux. By the end of a year, 98 percent of the atoms in your body will have been exchanged for new ones. Literally, you are not the same person from year to year. Why then, amidst all this change, do we often seek to eradicate changes in our lives, our organizations, our business processes, and in our environment?

Buddy, can you spare the change?

No, you cannot spare the change and neither can your organization! You are in fact changing and your organization will also change. You and it will change or you will die and even death is a process of change. And in today’s modern business world, to focus on the business issues, the pace of change has accelerated to the point of almost blinding speed. It continues to accelerate.

We all know that this is the case, and we all know that it is technology that is driving the acceleration of change. Advances in communication have made our world one global market. We face competition from the same global markets in which we seek the lowest cost labor for our own products. Many of our customers and employees purchase products and work to design products and services from the comfort of their homes. Information (and disinformation) is readily available to all who have access to the internet, and in the industrialized nations of the world, a majority of the people have gained that access one way or another.

We also know that disruptive technology provides leaps in competing products which totally transform the markets in which we move. The classic example is that of the buggy-whip. While focused on making the best buggy-whip in the world, the manufacturer does not see that automobiles will soon obviate the need for buggy-whips. The whole market disappears. Personal computers have totally changed the corporate information system market and have gone on to fuel the changes in how we as individuals use information and communicate in our personal lives. To not anticipate these disruptive technologies, or at least recognize and respond to their impact, is to invite corporate obsolescence.

Why do we fight change?

While intellectually we all know that change is inevitable, that there is no such thing as security or stability, we often have a difficult time accepting that things must change. My experience is that as long as someone perceives that a forthcoming change will increase their authority in the organization, they will embrace the change. If the perception is that authority or power will be lost due to a change, then all stops are pulled to avoid the proposed changes. Rarely do employees willingly make a personal sacrifice in stature, authority, or power for the general good of the organization.

Sometimes the opposition to change may be due to change overload. Perhaps an employee is dealing with an overwhelming amount of change in his or her personal life; children moving away to school, divorce or simply dealing with relationship strains at home, illness in the family. Under these circumstances, employees may well look to the workplace as the only point of stability in their lives. They spend fifty percent of their waking hours at work, and if everything else is in turmoil, they want desperately to have work be the haven from change.

Institutionalizing Change

As if it isn’t enough to deal with the outside forces of technology and globalization of markets, we now have to deal with the institutionalization of change within our corporations. Management initiatives such as Six Sigma and the ISO9000 programs demand continuous improvement. It’s impossible to imagine improvement without some level of change. Relentless pressure to increase human productivity demands changes in our business and management practices even if we determine that our products and markets are well defined and viable.

The essence of Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is alive and well today. The name, BPR, has been misappropriated for those who would simply downsize their organizations. Yet the original intent of a careful study, measurement, and radical reorganization of a company is still employed today; we just call it something else! Leadership teams have also recognized the need to make continuous incremental rather than radical changes for many of our business processes. Regardless of how we make the changes, change we must if we are to survive and thrive.

Shaping the Corporate Culture

How well change is managed in an organization depends on the skills of the leadership team. Not only do they need to understand the organization and the requisite changes, but they must understand their employee’s capacity for change and the capacity of the organization itself to support and promote changes.

Mr. Michael Mussallem, Chairman and CEO of Edwards Lifesciences, often speaks of “actively managing the corporate culture.” Part of the company credo is that; “We will celebrate our successes, thrive on discovery, and continually expand our boundaries.” Continually expanding boundaries implies not only technological but organizational change. To actively manage the corporate culture means not only ensuring that the corporate ethics is understood and managed as a process, but that the leadership team affirms and promotes an environment that encourages individual responsibility and a capacity to change the business processes.

So are you ready to embrace change when it comes or are you one who “fights” the changes? What is the culture of your company with respect to change? Do you fit in?

Take a quick assessment of your company's culture and see if it fights change. Have all your key managers take this same assessment. Then evaluate and discuss the differences. CLICK HERE to download a free culture assessment.

Change starts with an effective hiring process. You must have the right people on the bus. This 8 Point Hiring Methodology Assessment tool will help you build a hiring methodology in your company that attracts top talent. CLICK HERE to download your free assessment.

About the author

Dave Kinnear is a sought after Business Advisor and Mentor. He works with highly successful executives through one-to-one mentoring and coaching meetings. Individuals who are presently running successful businesses and executives in transition work with Dave to ensure meeting corporate and/or career goals. Through his affiliation with Vistage International, Dave convenes and facilitates Advisory Boards comprising Business Owners, Company Presidents and Chief Executives dedicated to becoming better leaders who make better decisions and achieve better results.