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Building Brand & Culture Across a decentalized workforce

Maintaining organizational consistency and building a strong employer brand can be one of the toughest challenges when operating across a decentralized work environment.  Subtle changes in your approach to talent management and operations can combat the tendency for a dispersed workforce to lose touch with the company culture.

When thinking about the multitude of locations or even franchisees within your organization, it is important to keep in mind that there is a distinct difference between a scattered team and a dispersed team.  Having geographical separation within a company does not mean that the overall processes and branding should be inconsistent and disparate.

Brand cohesion is built from the very start with recruiting and promotion.  What does your personal and online presence look like to a prospective employee or even customer? Do you have a centralized theme when advertising your company?  Is there any sense of community presented? These are some key questions to consider when displaying information about your brand.  Focus on what sets you apart from the competition by highlighting employee benefits, your schedule flexibility, employee-focused values, testimonials from current employees, even career pathing opportunities within your organization.  All of these items are the factors that distinguish you as being a great employment opportunity versus just another job application that gets buried in the mix of thousands of others.

Creating a social presence is also crucial to building a cohesive, stand-out brand.  According to the Pew Research Center, more than two-thirds of Americans reported getting their information from social media.  To be more specific, TalentWorks International notes that 59% of candidates use social media specifically to research information about the companies they are interested in and 69% of those active candidates are more likely to apply for a job at a company which effectively manages its employer brand. All of these stats together tell us that a positive and well-kept social presence can make a big difference in maintaining an employer brand and attracting quality applicants for your entire organization.

Recruitment is often the first step in building brand, but certainly not the last.  Implementing a consistent, comprehensive, and customized screening process with the help of an ATS can foster more thoughtful hiring decisions and bring on individuals who better align with your organizational values, contribute to the team culture, and enhance cohesion across all locations, rather than just being a warm body to fill a position.

So, now you have a strong brand presence and a more-unified workforce, the question remains; How will you maintain this consistency and continue to build the culture as your team disperses back to their daily operations?  A lot of the success in this challenge will come from leadership, so the key here is providing a streamlined, brand-centric guide to daily processes, while still allowing for location or franchisee-specific customization and ownership.  A cohesive workflow, company-wide standards, and continuously providing branded materials that are accessible in one platform will promote uniformity and encourage a more consolidated effort.

The final step to continually fostering a strong brand across your locations comes from the engagement of your current workforce.  Create “buy-in” for your employees and get them invested in the company mission by providing constant interaction with the employer brand, open channels of communication, and ongoing training and development surrounding your organizational principles and procedures.  Employees want to know that the values you promoted originally stay true throughout their employee lifecycle.  Simple changes like incorporating regular employee evaluations, rewarding hard work when recognition is due, or continuing to promote within are easy ways to make big changes, especially when implemented on a large scale.  Even encouraging internal referrals can help empower your workers to further endorse your company and strengthen your culture with more like-minded individuals.

Cultivating a powerful and unified employer brand is a multi-faceted process, but with the help of an all-in-one HR management solution like talentReef, growing and connecting your organization is made easy.   Learn how talentReef can keep your team working toward one centralized goal even in a decentralized environment.

Jesse Applehans

Solutions Consultant

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