Many companies invest tens of thousands of euros each year in their employer branding, with some even investing six figure sums. And quite rightly so because, at the end of the day, positions that don’t get filled at all, or that end up being occupied by the wrong applicants end up costing a lot more. However, those who focus too much on the outside and forget to pay attention to the "inner values" of the company often undermine their own efforts in the area of employer branding and recruiting
The issue here is employee motivation: If colleagues get annoyed with their boss on a daily basis or are constantly being ignored, they carry their worries with them, outside the company walls – and all those employer branding efforts end up being in vain.
Vouchers for lunch, a company bike or gym at work – nowadays, employers have plenty of ideas when it comes to Compensation & Benefits to motivate their staff. However, in doing all of this, they forget what traditional motivation theories have to teach us: It is not so much external incentives that ensure long-term motivation to work, it is rather internal drive. And this is something that employers cannot buy – whether by means of shopping vouchers or bowls of fruit.
Heinz Heckhausen’s concept of motivational psychology is particularly noteworthy in this context. He begins with the assumption that employees will only be motivated if the following four requirements are met:
All of these questions relate to one core theme: Do employees find their daily work meaningful? Employees want to be valued for their performance, and seek personal freedom to act.
Within the context of Performance Management, in order to increase the motivation of employees to work and to promote individual performance in the best possible way, the employer can work on the way in which the work is organised, how the workplace is equipped, and corporate culture. One factor often forgotten in HR management is the quality of leadership that the managers embody in their everyday work. And, in many companies, this leaves much to be desired.
There are countless ways in which supervisors often unconsciously afflict their employees on a daily basis, successively destroying their original motivation. Typical examples of this include:
If employers are wondering whether they employ bad personnel management, they need only look at a few hard facts: How high is fluctuation, and are there individual business divisions where it is particularly high? Has the number of absences due to illness increased recently? How has employee satisfaction been developing over time? Frequent negative entries on employer assessment platforms can also be a conspicuous indicator of deficiencies in corporate and management culture.
If employees are constantly having trouble with the boss, they don’t just tell their partners; they tell friends and acquaintances too. Regular negative reports about company personnel management causes damage to the company’s public reputation. Employer branding then ends up missing its mark because, at best, it ends up being an exercise in damage limitation. The success that is striven for – that of coming across as an appealing employer – suffers as a consequence. This is especially the case as the public perception of management behaviour almost makes efforts to present the company in a positive light appear laughable.
In practice, this means that: If bad management is the order of the day in the company, this is the point at which employee development should be tackled, before taking any other employer branding measures. Although this is the task of HR – Management bears an even greater responsibility in this regard.
If open, agile and fair leadership is not a lived reality at the top of the company, this shortcoming automatically ends up being propagated down to the lower levels of management, and the failure of employer branding is inevitable. This has a direct impact on recruitment: If the management culture has negative associations in the mind of the public, this damages the employer's reputation. Applications from potential top performers and highly qualified specialists stop coming in and the employer fails to bind new employees to the company.
The consistent further development of management and corporate culture should be just as much a part of the employer branding and recruiting strategy as flexible working time models, an up-to-date e-recruiting approach, onboarding processes, and internet-based brand ambassadors. Toxic personnel management poison the working environment, making it a hostile place for workers. In order to work on the basic management culture, uniform corporate values and role models must be established. Training for managers can help to bring about changes in the functioning of leadership. Target agreements involving managers and employees, regularly monitored using HR software such as rexx Management by Objectives, can help this aim to be achieved. If none of these measures help, employers sometimes have no choice but to make a clean break and allow those involved to go their separate ways.
A positive employer branding as well as successful recruiting requires good leadership – otherwise scheming, (socially) incompetent and toxic personnel management stifle any such efforts before they can bear fruit.
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