Taking a stand impacts your employment branding

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You always knew your Employer’s Brand wasn’t meant to attract everyone. The position you take on social issues is certainly walking that talk…boldly. Recent examples include Nike’s ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick, Levi Strauss’ commitment to ending gun violence, Delta, United, Enterprise and other firms that have ended their relationship with the NRA.

In a recent article titled Your Company’s Stance on Controversial Issues Matter, I4CP shared their results from a ‘pulse survey’ of 560 people. While this approach to collecting data isn’t a truly representative sample, it’s still worth noting the overwhelming responses of customers and candidates. By and large, they stated that their company’s stance would impact their decision to buy products or to work at the firm.  If nothing else, the study shows how heavily our society has integrated social attitudes into how they conduct their lives. Your conversion rate is bound to be affected…and that could be a good thing.

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We may be entering an era where few employers remain neutral on the critical issues that divide us. The choices we make on either side of a controversial issue are bound to affect an employer’s bottom line, as well as the decisions prospects make to become candidates.

Despite the potential downsides if managed poorly, we’re fans of employers who boldly go forward eyes wide open. If nothing else they define what they mean when they claim to drive their business from a values perspective. Obviously, if we happen to agree with them (as in the case of Nike) we especially enjoy their measured, tongue-in-cheek reaction to backlash as seen in this print ad.

 

Even when we don’t agree with their stance, thinking of Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay stance for example, we can still admire their willingness to take their stand public. Better to learn that their values and ours wouldn’t agree if we were looking for a job than to go to work for a firm whose social values are so counter to ours. Would it change our opinion on being a consumer of the employer’s products? It might, depending on how much we are at odds with the value, how aggressively they push their point of view…and how hungry we might be for a chicken sandwich.

If, as a society we are going to be divided over substantive issues related to guns, abortion, immigration, inclusion, sustainability, etc., etc., we should at least know if the workplace we are in intentionally attracts or detracts from the community whose values that we, as candidates (and customers), share.


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