A couple of months ago, Claudia and I had a meeting with the HR-representative in the Vienna branch of a foreign corporation. The reason we were invited was a bad employer-reputation on some influential online platforms. (Managers can't just laugh that away like Joan Jett in her famous song...)

A hire & fire-policy after taking over a local company, constant changes in the business-structure as well as intercultural problems with regard to communication and leadership have led to a climate of frustration among employees. Some of the people who were fired also let off steam on employer rating portals.

Together we analysed the situation and made clear strategic recommendations. The problem needed to be approached on various levels. Cosmetic PR alone wouldn't do the job! The meeting took place in a good and constructive atmosphere. A few days later we sent them our protocol with a list of measures to be taken in the following weeks. The HR-representative thankfully accepted our input and said they first wanted to rely on their internal process management-programs (due to immediate projects) and follow our steps later on.

Summer came, the situation seemed to have miraculously calmed down by itself, the process management program appeared to be happy too. Things were sleepy, like a growing cancer that hasn't caused any pain yet... Peace was deceptive though - the war had just paused for a little while.

Meanwhile things have gone from bad to worse. The company's bad employer-reputation became public knowledge, after a ranking about good/bad employers in the respective business area was published in a renowned web-magazine. Frustrated employees are never a good sign for the overall reputation of a brand, and less in sensitive markets!

Long story short: We all love business automation-systems, they can be most helpful tools in order to control complex processes in HR-departments. But when it comes to people management in times of crisis, it is more than dangerous to rely merely on standard-processes. It is inevitable to find customized solutions on the basis of thorough analysis and communication!

© workinprogress ¦ Strategic HR-Management &
Employer Branding

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