Selling the personal brand

Is it important that many employees do not ally themselves with the mission statements of their employers? A recent survey for Bute Coaching Ltd has found over a quarter of employees did not agree with or align themselves with their company’s brand or core values. Workingmums.co.uk asked Bute Coaching MD Margo Manning her views on why personal branding is important.

Is it important that many employees do not ally themselves with the mission statements of their employers? A recent survey for Bute Coaching Ltd has found over a quarter of employees did not agree with or align themselves with their company’s brand or core values.

Margo Manning, MD of Bute Coaching, says this is worrying because it shows that “as many as 25% of staff at a company are just going through the motions”. She thinks companies should be doing a lot more to engage with staff from both the top down and the bottom up.

She says this means that employers and employees need to think about branding. The survey also showed, for instance, that up to 45% of people have never thought about their personal brand, how they come across and what they stand for.

The coaching company is holding a four-day workshop on personal branding to help people reconsider what they represent. “It’s about getting a holistic view,” says Manning. “It’s not just looking at individuals’ careers, but at all the areas that are important to them.”

This includes, for instance, not just where they want to be in five years’ time, but the practicalities of how they are going to get there and what they may have to sacrifice to do so. “We want them to come away with a realistic plan of what they are working towards,” she says.

Life-changing experience
Bute has done personal branding work before, but on a one-to-one basis rather than as a workshop. There will be around 10 people on the workshops so that it is intimate enough to allow for some one to one work and the fact that it is held over four days allows time for a deep probing of people’s values and priorities.

“It’s a life-changing experience,” says Manning. The workshop nature, she adds, means that people form strong bonds and can bounce ideas off each other plus build a support network for the future. They can also get the perspective of people from different fields of work.

Bute Coaching used to be part of Bute Learning and Development which ran a range of communications workshops on learning and development. However, the coaching side of the business increased its work by 300% between October 2009 and October 2010 and subsequently split off to form Bute Coaching. Manning says a common issue that came up was personal branding. “People didn’t understand where they wanted to go. A lot of our clients got to their position through being in the right place at the right time rather than through a thought-out process,” she says. These included working mums who had spent a large part of their maternity leave worrying about going back to a job which they felt did not fit in with their lives as mums. “It was an effort rather than a pleasure,” she adds. “They were doing the job because they had to and because it was expected of them. The thought of putting that energy into a role which would not give them the balance they needed was eye-opening.”

Initially, the vast majority of their clients were referred through Human Resources, but a growing number are now contacting the organisation directly. Manning adds that many people in work nowadays are under a lot of stress, due to fears about job loss. “They are less confident their role is secure, less confident in the role they are doing,” she says. “This kind of insecurity can be very demotivating. It kills people’s confidence to have to be interviewed, for instance, for the job they have been doing if their organisation is being restructured. Looking at their personal branding can give them a boost by helping them reevaluate their lives, think about how much they need to earn, what role peer pressure is playing, what they really want.”

The first workshop starts on 15 February and another is planned for May. Manning hopes they will run quarterly. Each workshop session is followed up a few weeks later with a one to one coaching session. This gives people time to begin to get to work on their action plan. “We hope that they will also keep in touch with the others on the workshop,” says Manning. “It is an intimate experience. You have to open up. The hope is that people on the workshop will stay in touch and provide a network to support and help each other in the future.”





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