What happens if you change your employer recipe?

17th December 2018

When you open a well-known bar of chocolate, your expectations (and taste buds) are raised. You imagine that first bite, the endorphins start to course around your brain, and you relax into the deliciousness for a few minutes

That’s it. Unless the chocolate bar (or its taste) has changed since you last indulged.

In response to the cost-cutting requirements, the shape of the legendary chocolate bar Toblerone was altered recently. The packaging remained the same, but the iconic triangles were spaced further apart from one another and the bars reduced in weight. The recipe was ostensibly the same, but the new look had many fans up in arms. How could they? The same company, Mondelez, reportedly lost £6m last year after they replaced the Dairy Milk chocolate in their Crème Eggs with an inferior quality chocolate. The look was the same, but the taste was entirely different. Again, how could they?

Now, I am actually no great fan of chocolate, I am more into the “healthy eating” side of the market, but these two examples illustrate an interesting lesson in life and business:

If something doesn’t do what is expected of it, people are going to be disappointed, and the relationship of trust with them will be altered.

This is a challenge for many companies when they are looking to recruit and retain the best people. Their external employer brand has to reflect what actually goes on within the company (not an idealistic vision of the marketing department). This issue is especially acute for SMEs who are “growing up” from their start-up roots and having to act a little more corporate. If someone thinks that they are joining a fast-moving start up but finds themselves wrapped up in all sorts of misguided bureaucracy, they won’t stay for long.

We recruit for a lot of fast-growing start-ups, and we always try to track where they are in terms of their employee experience. What is it like working there? What sort of people work there? What are the daily challenges? Where is the company going to be in two years’ time? All these questions and many more make up the company culture, and it is vital that each candidate understands this current snapshot rather than a blurry vision of what the wider world is saying about the company.

The role of the company to tell their authentic story has never been more important, and if their story changes for whatever reason, it is important to let people know about it. As recruitment is such a key operation for any start-up, bringing the recruitment partners into this conversation is a crucial way to give any potential new hires a heads up on what can be expected. No one start-up is the same, and the more open they are about their cultures, the better fit people they will find (and the longer they will stay).

Changing your employer recipe is to be expected, it is a crucial part of life in any company, but you have a duty to communicate those changes to the outside world. Your recruiter can help you with getting the message out there.