Unhappy Employee Exits Erode Brand Value
Many companies don’t realise that an unhappy Employee exit can damage the company brand more than anything else. An unhappy employee leaving the company is a virtual time bomb. At some time or the other this person is going to vent his frustration to other people, and you have to remember news travels.
Typically the purpose of an exit interview is to glean feedback from employees in order to improve aspects of the organization, better retain employees, and reduce turnover. But are you missing the crucial question during the exit interview? Was this employee you are interviewing happy while he was working for your company? Because if he is not you have a problem.
The unhappy employee will often be guarded when asked to criticise the company. His guard is up and he would hardly like you to know that he had a terrible time here. Also he sees the exit interview as a formality, and often he wants to get it over and done with, with the least friction and resistance. So typically the unhappy employee will put on a mask, and behave mature and objective while he speaks about the what is right or wrong with the company. So the exit interview will be fairly routine. Some good points and some bad points. Its only after he leaves the company that he will start attacking your company.
Unhappy Employees can Erode Brand Value
The beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines is a good case of leaving behind over a thousand unhappy employees. Kingfisher Airlines closed operations in 2012 due to problems of credit and cash, leaving over $2 billion in debt, more than 1000 employees jobless and unpaid salary arrears of over Rs 100 crore. The salaries remain unpaid. In addition to salaries, although the company made deductions against provident fund and other statutory dues, the company never met its obligations of paying statutory dues to government bodies leaving many employees in the lurch.
So ever since Kingfisher closed it has had a 1000 employees speaking badly about the company eroding what ever brand value it had. It is ironic that most of the loans given by the public sector banks was against the value of the Kingfisher brand.
I recently met an employee of another Indian company who told he hadn’t been still paid his dues ( salary and dues ) for 18 months since he left the company. Considering the seniority of the employee I am sure he must have told his predicament to hundreds of others. That can’t be good for the company in question.
In fact senior employees tend to have a larger circle of influence and this means that they are capable of effecting higher damage to brand value. Junior employees by the same reasoning will do lesser damage.
Engaging Employees for better Brand Value
The 2012 meta-analysis by Gallup once again confirmed that that employee engagement relates to each of the nine performance outcomes studied. Gallup also found strong correlations between engagement and performance are highly consistent across different organizations from diverse industries and regions of the world.
“Branding used to be about what’s happening outside of your door, but, increasingly, about 75 percent of the work that brands do is more squarely focused on how they get the greatest performance out of their employees, and how they lessen the gap between the executives and the front line [employees],” said Andrea Sullivan, CMO at Interbrand. ( Source: Adweek )
So looking after your employees, making sure they are happy when they leave means that HR needs to be given the importance it deserves in senior management. Most companies treat their HR heads like a necessary evil. But HR heads can have the greatest impact on the culture of an organisation. Especially in service industries where people are the biggest assets, you can hardly over emphasise how important people are, not only for the company but in determining the value of the company brand