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The Practical Employer

Your Employees Are Your Brand Ambassadors; Train Them Accordingly

Employees need to understand that they will be held accountable with their jobs if do anything to damage the reputation of your brand.

“Dad, can you take me to the craft store?”

My sixth grader has a diorama due the day after Thanksgiving break.

So, off Norah and I went to the craft store last night.
“Can you help me find fake moss for the floor of my deciduous forest?”
I had two options. Aimlessly wander around the big-box store, or amble up to the register to ask for directions.
Already frustrated by the endlessly homogeneous aisles of fabric and beads, I chose the latter.
Ahead of me at one of the registers was a gentleman (and I use that term very loosely), who was having a difficult time understanding why he could not return, without receipt, some thing his wife bought at some undetermined time in the past. His argument went on, and on, and on.
Meanwhile, another registered opened, I gained my directions to the fake-moss section, and I went on my way.
A few moments later, I, and everyone else in the store, heard the following exchange between the receipt-less customer and the increasingly agitated employee.
“F**K YOU! All I want to do is RETURN THIS! … GO AHEAD, CALL THE COPS, I’M JUST STANDING HERE! … F**K YOU!”
“Yeah, Well F**K YOU TOO, YOU ARKANSAS REDNECK PIECE OF S**T! GET THE F**K OUT OF MY STORE!”
Norah was suitably appalled, as was I (although I did take some joy from the fact that this exchange would provide this morning’s post).

Each of your employees is your brand ambassador. Take retail, for example. Most of your customers will only ever interact with your store-level employees. They are the face of your company. Pretty scary thought, given what I witnessed last night.

Can you afford for an employee’s offensive (or racist, or sexist, or xenophobic … ) rant to sully your brand? More importantly, how do you undo the damage caused? While an offending employee should be fired for the transgression, the firing won’t remove the stain left on your business to all who witnessed the misconduct.

What’s the solution?
Training, training, training.
Employees need to understand that they will be held accountable with their jobs if do anything to damage the reputation of your brand. Do not entrust this issue solely to your employees’ common sense. I promise you, they will disappoint.
Jon Hyman is a partner at Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis in Cleveland. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Hyman’s blog at Workforce.com/PracticalEmployer.