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PR Expert Luke Thompson Of Transmission Private Reveals How To Manage Your Reputation In Order To Hire The Best New Talent
Luke Thompson, a Partner at Transmission Private – a specialist communications and PR agency that works with ultra-high-net-worth individuals, family offices and investors – reveals how senior executives, business owners and company founders can leverage their reputations in order to attract and hire top talent.
Do you think the reputation of key individuals, such as the company chairman or owner, is important when hiring?
Luke: Yes – it's not just important, but absolutely critical, and don’t just take my word for it. We commissioned a public poll recently – Reputation attracts finance and talent – on this very issue and found that 45% of respondents said ‘strong ethics & integrity’ of an entrepreneur was an important factor for determining whether they would apply for a job at a company. I think that speaks for itself.
Finding and attracting the best talent within your industry is one of the primary challenges any business faces. I know this from my own experience. We're all looking for that edge – and that edge is reputation. If you want to compete in the recruitment market and pull in the best people, the personal reputation of the business owner or CEO is vital to success.
Think of those businesses where the founder or CEO has a strong personal reputation. Often, they are the businesses that can hire the very best talent. James Timpson at Timpson’s comes to mind.
What challenges do these high-level executives face when trying to establish their reputation?
Luke: I think the main challenge is often visibility. It is one thing to have a positive reputation internally amongst employees, but the key to having a good reputation outside of your business is to take proactive steps to communicate externally and be more visible.
I've found that some executives and founders are inherently reticent at becoming more personally visible – they prefer to keep their heads below the parapet – but often those key attributes, approaches, successes, values, ethics and business track record are known within the company, but not outside of the company.
These are the factors in play that candidates are considering, so getting on the front foot and taking measures to communicate these is what will raise the bar in recruitment.
Is it important for them to publicly share their backstory and achievements? I imagine many will presume that no news is good news but could that limit their appeal to potential new hires?
Luke: Absolutely – “business track record” was one of the top five factors that really mattered to potential candidates in our polling. The best candidates are not just looking for tangible employee benefits such as a bonus scheme or annual leave entitlement – these things matter – but increasingly they are looking for more compelling reasons for why they should join the company.
They want to know what kind of person owns and runs the business, how they got there, what they have done in the past that they can learn from, and what their vision is for the business. It's much like joining a football team or club – you want to go where there's a leader, captain or manager than you resonate with.
Is there a particular area of an individual’s reputation that you think potential employees might be especially interested in?
Luke: The top five factors that matter and play a part in a candidate’s decision making are management skills, strong ethics and integrity, evidence of building good teams, strong vision for the business, and business track record.
If a founder or executive – or even the advisers and aides around them – are reading this, the above areas are the types of things you want to be thinking about.
Think about where your natural strengths lie and then think more proactively around how you can communicate those points to external audiences and potential recruits.
Most leaders have strong visions for the company – think about how you can share that vision with more people. This could be through a video or it could be a blog for the website. It doesn’t have to be too complicated or sophisticated. There are many ways to do this.
Say a company chairman currently makes no effort to shape their reputation but is looking to hire new employees and really grow their office, what is the simplest thing they can do to help boost their reputation?
Luke: Good question – let’s start with the low hanging fruit. Leverage the platforms under your control, starting with your website, which every potential candidate will visit.
Firstly, make sure you have a comprehensive and findable biography on the website to demonstrate your career highlights as well as your vision for the company. Take this further by syndicating some of this content on the Careers page – maybe in the form of a quote as Chairman. Ensure that quote is on your next job description.
Taking it to the next level, write an interview for the website, do some proactive industry PR or record some audio or visual content to distribute.
Luke Thompson is a Partner at Transmission Private, a full-service communications agency known for advising many of the world’s most successful individuals on their reputations. You can find out more about the reputation management services they provide to clients on their website.