Company Culture: How Do You Get Your Company to be “Brand New?”

Acting Brand New: (definition via the Urban Dictionary):

When a person displays that they are better than their friends, or treats their friends indifferently, especially where there has been a relationship of good standing previously; hence the term ‘new’. i.e. without any history with you.”

Using it in a sentence: “Why Jamie acting brand new like he don’t know nobody? Just because he got a car don’t mean s**t; we practically grew up in the same house and yesterday he said he couldn’t come over my house because it has a garage. I was like, well what about all those other 1000?s of times?”

A client with a super bad reputation

I was reminded of the concept of “Acting Brand New” this past week when speaking about a client we use to work with. We don’t work with them now because the value equation just didn’t work out for the two of us (meaning: we weren’t making enough money for the work they were willing to give us!).

The company was tough to recruit for because they had a super bad reputation and nobody locally wanted to go to work there, and on top of that, they weren’t willing to be pay leaders to make up for their terrible reputation. I’m not in the business of providing bad talent – it won’t keep me in business long – and they could only afford average talent. But average talent doesn’t want to work for horrible companies, unless you pay a premium, so what you’re left with is bad talent.

The reason this past client came up is because they went through some re-branding – new name, new logo, fresh coat of paint, etc. They still have the same openings and they are trying to “act brand new,” like somehow the people in a local market will forget who they were and will want to come work at the “new” company. They don’t; they still have a bad culture, bad leadership and bad wages. BTW, that’s the triple threat of not getting any talent! You end up with people who couldn’t get jobs anywhere else.

So, how DO you get “Brand New?”

Which leads to the concept of  this — how do you get “brand new?” If you’re unfortunately at a company like our previous client mentioned above, how do you turn this around?

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You can only become “Brand New” by actually being something new. Name changes and new logos don’t do the trick; you have to have leadership that actually acts different, that models the behaviors you want to become, and who are willing to cut out some cancer and not allow it to grow back.

It’s tough! Too many of us want to change our Name and Logo first – I get that – Signs and Symbols. But that’s completely backwards when getting all “brand new” – you do that last. That way, when someone comes back to see if you really are all “brand new,” your exterior matches the interior.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


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