How does hiring the right people and branding go hand in hand?

The answer to the title’s question is straightforward: the right people will make it their job to act according to your company’s mission (which is the brand’s foundation). Hiring the right people is crucial in providing a quality customer experience. Therefore, having a strong brand foundation makes hiring so much easier and effective.

Branding foundation – aka your values, mission, and vision – define a clear business purpose. Branding is no joke! And I’m not talking about making sure everyone uses the same font in the same color in their documents or assets. Nope, branding is so much more than that; it’s the essence of why your company exists in the first place. It’s the goal your company is aiming to achieve. The emotional connection you get with a client or customer is the meat and potatoes of a quality brand. The people who work at your company effect how your mission is being handled. Which makes hiring the right people go deer than just making sure they have excellent skills to get the job done and know which font to use in the memos. Alright, dive in with, love!

A magnet for hiring the right people

A clear purpose for your business is an easy way to get other like-minded people on board. I’d go further to say that a clear vision and purpose is like a magnet when it comes to hiring the right people. That’s because when a company embodies its mission, people who believe in the same goals will want to be part of it too. Naturally, they will want to join your company for themselves, it’s their vision too and working for you allows them to be part of the action!

Let’s bring this back to branding though. I’m a big advocate of using a company purpose as a guide. If a project or an idea don’t align with the company’s mission, it’s a waste of time. Not to mention money and effort. Try something else, elaborate, pivot, change direction, throw it away. Using a company purpose to double check decisions makes decision-making easier. You get a clear sense of what’s a good idea to pursue and what isn’t right away. It’s either aligned with the mission, or it isn’t. Simple as that.

The same applies to hiring the right people. If someone isn’t connected to or invested in the same vision as the company, they won’t make it their job to incorporate it into their daily work. They will prioritize the usual and typical things; they will get the job done. However, they will not be remarkable and will leave when a better offer presents itself. It’s precisely what John Deere faced in their Asian offices.

The story of John Deere’s turnover problem

John Deer is a household name in America. But not so much in Asia. The company had a very high turnover rate for employees in their Asian offices, and they hired a consultant to help them do something about it. The result was a well thought out and designed First Day Experience. The whole point of this was to make new employees feel like they belong, that they are welcomed and had a day that was exceptionally memorable.

Chip and Dan Heath co-authored a book about the importance of moments called The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact In it, they used the John Deere example as one of “the moments that bring meaning to our lives, the moments we remember when we look back.”

It turns out that The First Day Experience was not implemented in all of John Deere’s Asian offices. Why? Because it wasn’t anyone’s job to do so. And that’s the point of sharing the John Deere story is about. Those offices that didn’t implement the new onboarding experience were too busy with their own problems, deadlines, and goals. It was no one’s job to give a shit about other new hires. As you can imagine, the turnover rates in those offices stayed the same. For these employees, there’s always something happening that is a lot more urgent.

To be honest, that seems to be the case for many companies. How many of us can say we ever had a remarkable first day at a new job? It’s not that companies purposely ignore the new hires, it’s just that they don’t notice the effect small details can have. When employees feel cared for and take care of, they take care of the customers, each other and, in turn, the company too.

(The offices that did end up implementing the new onboarding experience had a significant drop in turnovers, and everyone loved their First Day Experiences, by the way. It was a huge success there.)

It’s no one’s job

Say your company’s mission is to think differently and to empower minority business owners. All employees would understand that a new onboarding experience for new hires is necessary if they lived the company mission daily. It’s another way to think and be different as a business yourself. And, it’s another way to empower new hires who otherwise might be intimidated and confused.

Creative thinking and problem solving would become the norm. For example, customer support people would feel free to do whatever they need to do to empower the people calling in (like they do at Zappos). It doesn’t matter what the issue is, the mentality is “I will go the extra mile to serve you today.” The customer service people would go out of their way to make a positive impact on the customer’s experience because it is a big part of the company culture for them to do so. It’s normal, expected and encouraged. They would feel it’s part of their responsibility to uphold the mission – whatever it may be.

Don’t get me wrong, hitting goals, and quotas are essential. But it’s nowhere near as crucial in creating beautiful customer experiences for the people who not only believe in the same mission as you but are willing to give you their money (by buying your products or services) so that you can keep pursuing that purpose.

What does hiring the right people even mean?

When it comes to hiring, most people look for someone to do a particular task or responsibility well, such as improving sales through Facebook ads. If you walk into just about an average company, most people are preoccupied with hitting their goals and deadlines. Most of those are related to money such as improving conversion rates, sign-ups or deals closed. However, if we do frame it that way, improving a campaign’s conversion rates has very little to do with achieving a company’s vision. A better metric might be “are we attracting the right people who need our help” or “Are we actually having a positive impact on the people who do pay us?”

When goals relating to customer impact are not taken into account in an employee’s day to day, then all they end up caring about is the default metrics (e.g., did I hit the quota this quarter?). And that, my friend, is how mediocre and shitty companies are born.

We can all agree that shitty companies are the ones that only care about their bottom line. And, that there are too many of those already. That’s why when a company comes around that has a clear purpose we are so drawn to them. It’s just so rare! It’s such a change! Think of a hot new company that wants to leave less carbon footprint (Patagonia) or giving access to clean water to all parts of Africa (Charity: water). You know, anything that speaks on the more human and emotional level. Anything that isn’t just about money.

But, the only way to be such an incredible and outstanding company is to have a clear purpose. Employees who believe in your purpose will make a tremendous difference in how your business operates. Because when they believe, they will go out of their way and it will become their everyday job to enforce and act upon that purpose.

Don’t worry about the money

I also mentioned this in last week’s article, money follows companies on a mission. Yes, conversion rates are important, but they are not the most critical thing for many of the typical spectacular brands such as Apple, Zappos or Fenty. If you treat your people right, the money will be there. Keep an eye on it of course, but don’t make it the #1 priority.

Standing out among the competition

In order to be different from the competition, you only need a solid brand foundation with clearly defined values, mission, and vision. You’re no longer trying to beat out the competition; you’re now trying to make your dream a reality. That’s an excellent way to stand out. You’re focusing on things that really matter like creating ways to make those believes a reality. That will attract all sorts of like-minded people because don’t forget, as consumers, we can quickly tell when a company is genuine or just trying to sell us a product we don’t need. Consumers will want to buy from you the same way applicants will want to be part of the team!

That’s how to be on your way to building an amazingly loyal fan base. They won’t be able to stop talking about you or buying from you. For example, many Porsche fans rave about the car but can’t afford it themselves. That’s still a fan who will talk about Porsche to anyone who will listen. Porsche, Porsche, Porsche…

You can’t do it alone

To be a great and influential company, you can’t do it alone. You will need help sooner or later. When your company purpose is a big part of your corporate identity, hiring the right people will be so much easier.

The takeaway

Most businesses don’t put too much focus on living the company purpose day to day. As you can see, that’s a big shame. Hiring the right people is so influential on how the company acts and behaves; it’s too important not to recruit like-minded people who believe what you believe also! Having the best kind of staff that will go the extra milling willingly without having been told to do so starts with a strong brand foundation!

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