Harnessing Organizational Image: An Employee's Perspective

Subhashini Acharya | March 07,2014 01:02 pm IST

How does your employee feel about working for you? Is it with a sense of pride, or indifference, or shame? What sort of image does your company have?


Organizational image can make or break fortunes in the people-centric times we live in. An organization's image is a critical parameter when one analyzes the impact it has, not only on the general public but on the employees which constitute its workforce.

Organizational image reflects individuals' perceptions of the actions, activities, and the accomplishments of the organization, and it ranks the organization in comparison with other organizations. A successful organization bridges the gap between popular perception and reality, thus, establishing its credibility.
 

Organizational Brand & Image
Organizational Brand reflects on a core idea, concept or value that the company wishes to portray. One of the ways an organizations brand is communicated is through marketing and core activities. Branding and image are deeply related concepts. Brand is based on behaviour and is one which can be easily maintained. Consistent behaviour helps develop reputation which generates an image of the brand in the minds of the public. The brand aids in inspiring confidence, trust an assurance to the target audience. A strong organizational image is the interface for the brand created and the organizational delivery on the assurance promised.
 

Organizational Image: The Bigger Picture
One of the major problems haunting most of the organizations today is attrition. Bringing down attrition levels can save essential and expensive resource for any company. And here is where the organizational image can play a major role in countering attrition.
 

It is a common misconception that salary is single most important reason for employees to quit their jobs. The reality, as research has time and again shown, is that most employees leave organizations on account of various other factors such as the failure on the part of the organizations to provide challenging jobs, expansion of their domain capability, career satisfaction, recognition and encouragement, support, good supervisors and pleasant working environment. Even trivial issues affect employee morale and lead to attrition, for example, change of place / seat, pantry, air-conditioning equipment management, etc.

 

Sometimes undue expectations of employees lead to dissatisfaction and results in them leaving the company. This is a classic case of organizational image having a negative impact in employee retention. A company's HR at times tends to promise the moon while trying to woo prospective employees, and in doing so, commits a blunder of raising employee expectations. This approach backfires because later the employee feels cheated and disappointed. It's not surprising when one hears of employees leaving after 6 months of hire date and so on.
 

A US-based consulting firm surveyed over 1000 American workers and found the following: -
Only 51 percent of all workers trust their organizations to tell the truth in employee communications
Only 48 percent of all workers with more than five years of tenure believe their companies are honest in their employee communications
Only 44 percent of all workers over age 50 trust their organizations to tell them the truth in employee communications
 

One needs to cultivate employee loyalty to be able to stop unnecessary and unhealthy attrition. This is where credibility of an organization comes into picture.
 

Building Credibility: Giving Shape to Your Organizations Image
One way of fostering employee loyalty is to build your credibility in the eyes of your employees. Credibility can only be built by sticking to your word. Doing what you say, you will. Honesty is more appreciated and valued, hence, a better policy to adopt while recruiting or otherwise. The money invested in hiring people and losing them never justifies the cost incurred. Rather the money could be well-spent in promoting the organizations image as that of an employee-conscious company.
 

Quoting Joe L. Griffith, "The only companies that grow are those that expect their people to grow - and spend time, money, and understanding to help them do it."
 

Letting your employees develop a feeling of belongingness by sharing and communicating organizational developments fosters a family feeling. Bonding levels between an employee and the organization determines a number of things, productivity, enthusiasm, self-esteem, loyalty. Trust is the one factor that makes a world of difference between an employee-friendly company and a performance-oriented company.
 

For any organization, employees tend to be more mobile if the organization is perceived as a tough task-master and having a work and get-paid culture. Retaining employees becomes difficult, because monetary satisfaction done with, there are a number of other factors which influence the way an employee looks up to his work place.
 

All communication should be a two-way process, including your employees in your decision making process helps implement changes faster. An employee who harbors feelings of alienation and indifference will never be supportive of organizational changes.
 

Harnessing Organizational Image
 

Attracting the Right People
An organization which projects itself as a sensitive and approachable employer will be able to attract and retain not just the best people around but also the right ones. Organizational image by far is one of the most important deciding factors during recruitment. A company has to sell itself to the prospective employee as an employer of choice. Here is where an organization with strong branding and recognized image gets more leverage than its competitors. In a labor driven market, where skilled workers are in short supply, an organization needs to present an image which promises growth and opportunity to its employees. Projecting the right image gets you quick recall value / recognition and helps in creating and sustaining long-term relationship with the candidates. Communicating the right image to the candidates attracts the right people and helps you win better employees.
 

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Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from Utkal University, Post Graduate Diploma in Management from XIM, Bhubaneswar (Batch 2006-08), Currently, employed with TATA Corporate HR as a part of their HRDP Program. ...