You may have heard this quote by leadership coach Peter Baeklund before:
“CFO asks CEO: What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”
“CEO: What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”
This quote came to mind with a recent question I was asked about why a company or employer would want to invest time and money in teaching their employees how to develop their personal brands. What if the company does that and it makes the employee more attractive to be snatched up by a competitor? What if the employee develops her own personal brand presence and then decides she has better options for employment elsewhere? Can’t these things happen? In short, yes, that is a possibility. But they can happen whether or not you as a leader decide to invest in personal brand training for your employees. Employees get recruited by competitors and seek other opportunities all the time.
Instead of focusing on that, consider this question. What will happen by having employees in whom you don’t invest this training and how will that reflect on your company’s brand?
Did that get ya thinkin'? Great! Now, let’s break this down to really get at why personal brand training is important for your employees and for your company. Here are seven reasons why you, as the employer, should spend time and money training your team on personal branding.
The company/employee relationship is a form of co-branding where each brand reflects on the other. Have you ever seen a McDonald’s inside of a Target store? No. And you never will. The reason is because Target’s and McDonald’s values and customer demographics are not aligned. However, you will see a Starbucks inside of your Target because they each align on their beliefs, values, etc. And each one’s brand attributes reflect on and support the other’s. So we see the two brands as being in harmony with one another. This article from HubSpot, 8 Examples of Successful Co-Branding Partnerships (And Why They’re So Great), explains this idea of co-branding and shares examples of some recognizable brands that do it well. The same is true for your employees. You and your employees are co-branding. The company brand reflects on the employees’ personal brands and how they are seen by others and your company’s brand is impacted by how each employee’s brand is viewed by others.
Employees are walking advertisements for your company’s brand.They’re built-in brand advocates of sorts who can help spread the word about your company and brand to their networks. Imagine if you have 10 employees and they talk about your company with each of their networks of say, modestly, 50 people each. That’s a pretty big impact. Now, multiply that by 100 or 1,000 employees, or more, in your company who probably have networks larger than 50 people and you can see how far reaching your employees’ networks and their messages can be. So, if an employee stays at your company you want him or her to not only have a personal brand that reflects positively on the company brand but to also have a positive feeling about the company. This can help to spread the word about the company brand to future customers and to future employees.
Even former employees can be your company’s brand advocates.When someone leaves your company for another opportunity their time with your company will be forever memorialized on their resume, LinkedIn, Facebook, and tons of other platforms. And it’s far better to have a former employee walking around in the world who has a positive personal brand that reflects well on his former employer and who has a positive impression of how the company invested in him during his time there than to have a former employee with a less than stellar personal brand that was connected with your company brand.
Employees are using social media whether or not they understand the best practices for presenting themselves on these platforms.And remember, they are co-branding with your company’s brand. So spending time and money to help them better understand how their personal brands come across to others in the online environment can only be beneficial in strengthening the perception of your company’s brand.
Training your employees on personal branding strengthens your employer brand. Investing in talent development that goes beyond the standard fare of job related topics can boost employee morale because it empowers them to take ownership of their growth and development. In turn, this also benefits your employer brand as potential new employees learn that you offer such training and development options through more positive reviews on employment sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, etc. and through more positive word of mouth. For more on employer branding, check out this great article from the Glassdoor blog - 7 Employer Branding Questions to Ask Yourself.
Employees who understand the power of personal branding are better equipped to move into leadership roles. Having employees who understand the importance and impact of their personal brands sets them up for moving into leadership positions in your company in the future. And as leaders representing your company you want them to be armed with a solid understanding of how their personal brand impacts their being effective leaders, not only from the perspective of how they lead the internal team but also how they appear as thought leaders in your industry. Their reputation is your reputation!
Personal brand training can improve employee retention in your company. Want your employees to stick around longer? Consider recent research from Gallup, which shows that a whopping 87% of millennials say that having professional development opportunities in their jobs is important to them. With more than one third of the American workforce being in the millennial category, it’s becoming more important for companies to listen to their employees and create workplaces that address their needs so that they stay at the company longer. Personal brand workshops can be a great place to start by giving your team members the tools they need to build their professional brands even further. It’s a win/win!
Personal brand workshops can be a very effective tool in your professional development offerings. I hope I’ve given you more of a comfort level with providing personal brand training to your teams and helped you understand how this training can benefit the company’s overall brand. If you have any questions about the topic or would like to learn more about personal brand workshops for your teams I’d love to chat with you!
The Brand Teacher
Do you want to build a stronger brand and company through personal brand training for your team? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's schedule a chat about how we can work together today!