The golden rule
Many articles have been written on the subject of employer branding. Let’s bring it back to its essence: “do not extend to others, what you do not wish upon yourself”.
Confucius said it 2.500 years ago. Let’s stop and reflect for just a minute and let’s rephrase what Confucius said: “use the same values in interaction with others as you would use for yourself”.
The most important things
Values are the core of every organization. Let’s just face that as it is: the “why” of every organization is the reason of its existence and the glue that holds it together, it is that, which drives it further. Why does one start a company? Because that person has something he/she stands for: a set of values. Why does one go that extra mile? Because there is meaning to it, because they envision the added value.
Values are the key ingredients.
From corporate to employee and back
What the company stands for in its essence is what will translate onto the people in that company. Consciously of subconsciously, consider it a fact:
That what you stand for will be translated into behavior that will affect others.
It is how those values trickle down in the organization. It is why people stay… or leave. Writing down a set of values and then not walking the talk will only make matters worse. Honesty to the golden rule is of the utmost importance.
In a changing world, the workforce is changing its value set. Call it work-life balance or work-life integration (which I prefer), home office, missions,… organizations should be lean and agile in adapting to the changing workforce. Lots of interesting articles on the social-economic evolution on this point but it would it lead us too far astray. The point is that a top-down only value push no longer is viable. Listening to the workforce and finding the common ground in values is the way forward.
What HR should do
HR and especially Recruitment, should focus highly on values. Whether you have employees or freelancers on the other side of the table, it is equally important. Do the values of the candidate match the values of the company and vice versa? Recruiting solely based on knowledge and experience has become too shallow,
Recruitment needs in-depth insights into values.
The advantage of the Interim Manager
So far, there is no difference between freelancers and employees. When it comes to values, there simply is not. But there are several clear advantages when it comes to freelance people.
“One does not simply become a freelancer.” Consider the steps one needs to take to become a freelancer. It is not the easiest thing to do in life. People contemplating this move will – I repeat – they will evaluate the “why” quite deeply. And thus, they will clarify their values.
This makes matching between candidate and company values far more swift and clear.
A freelancer has an independent mindset. They tend to be more in the third person perspective, giving them the advantage to oversee the issues when it comes to employer branding. An interim manager can adjust his or her team more clearly if the situation should occur when the team is running in average mode.
Interim Managers have more mental space to communicate their findings and know that they will not be around forever meaning they need to get things done.
That’s also why they speak out when their values drive them to that. Interim managers mostly don’t bend around the problem, they name it, identify it and … solve it. Probably, they have experienced similar challenges before helping them to overcome that fear. Yes, it needs guts and some bravery to start a career as an Interim Manager but how many times have you heard people say “that was someone who said it like it is, such a shame he / she is gone”…
Times are A-changin’
A quote from that other philosopher, Bob Dylan. Yes, times are changing. It is time to choose: stick our heads in the sand (demanding to stand still) or straighten our backs (allowing us to look forward) and acknowledge what is going on.
People who work with you but are not under your umbrella (we call them interim managers or freelancers) have more agility to impact. Why wait if you can act now?