I'm hearing more stories about people being underemployed. And though underemployment is not "ideal' for someone who just obtained their Bachelors or Masters degree- being employed is better than not being employed. Just like the old sales saying goes "the best time to sell is when you just made a sale" - the best time to job hunt is when you have a job.
This makes it challenging for businesses. How do you handle the turnover that comes when employees find that job that's a better match?
Employers, your employees have their brand
Employers: It's true. We all have personal brands. And, from the business owner perspective our hope is that when we find an employee, they are a good match for our brand values and that they exude their brand in a way that complements our business brand.
But what happens when the business brand doesn't match the employee's brand?
My friend and co-founder of #brandchat, David Sandusky, says it best when he says "hire well." It's true. If you want your brand expressed at it's very best, you will hire the people who match your brand and culture and who match your passion and drive with their own style.
That perfect match is critical for your business. In this situation, an ounce of prevention can make a difference as to whether or not you have a one time customer or a life long client.
According to a study from Harris Interactive, bad customer service is enough for consumers to drop a brand. The study found that the majority of consumers never go back to a business or organization after experiencing bad customer service or when their expectations are not met.
Employees, are you wondering, "What was I thinking?"
Employees: We've all been there. Either due to fear or desperation, we take that job or that client that's really not a good match for us. Then, we rationalize (or rather "rational" "lies" - talk ourselves into why it was the best fit, the best bet, or why we "needed this") our relationship and connection with this brand.
- Perhaps it was the only job available and we promised ourselves we would "employ ourselves out there," yet now we've gotten caught up in the habit, routine, daily drama and have lost focus of our next step.
- It could be that you were hungry for clients so you took this one, knowing you would have to bite the bullet to make ends meet - Rationalizing that "everyone has to do something they don't like in any business."
- Or, it could be that everything about the job or the client is a perfect fit but the "people," oh, the people are people we wouldn't want to ever spend time with, yet we convince ourselves that we love the work so much that we could put up with the people.
Are you there? Are you caught in the rational lies?
Then, it's time to create a plan to move as quickly as possible to the next step that's a better fit for you and your brand.
Here are some ways on how you can improve customer service just in case a customer comes to you with a problem:
- Identify the actions you need to take to find that job of your choice. Who do you need to know? What credentials do you need to have? What experience?
- Break each of those into seven actionable steps. For example, let's say you need "managerial experience," you can break that down into:
- Contact company HR (human resources) person to find out about committees within the organization.
- Find out from your supervisor if there are other activities such as a group that plans the birthday parties, retirement events, or even social gatherings that you could become a part of.
- Look outside of work at volunteer activities in the community, PTA, or church to see what's available that you can become involved in and take a leadership role (remember, managerial experience doesn't have to be "paid" experience to count)
- Find books, articles and blogs that you will routinely read one hour a week to hone and focus your managerial and leadership skills.
- Write down a plan for whatever committee or activity you're involved in and what you can do to take a more managerial role.
- Contact retired managers to meet with them for coffee or over lunch to find out - if they knew then, what they know now - what would they share/advise/suggest?
- Seek online courses, discussion groups, managerial focused organizations to help you make the connections you need at that professional level.
Take action to make a difference. Be diligent in protecting and grooming your own brand. You are responsible for your own brand.
Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks.com - a word of mouth marketing firm and Director of Client Communities of Momentum Factor-focused on the direct selling industry. She helps create connection, credibility, community and cha-ching through mobile marketing and social commerce around your brand. She is co-founder of #brandchat - a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding.