The quality of your employees—past, present, and future—are directly tied to your firm’s branding. An employee’s name, knowledge, and quality of work are tethered to your firm’s name and logo by every resume they submit, every interview they have, and every time someone browses their LinkedIn page. Recruiters routinely look at the brand name of a firm when selecting for candidates. It should not be a surprise that your customers are doing the same thing with the employees that leave your firm. Ex-employees are your brand ambassadors whether you like it or not.
Mark Herrmann, the Deputy Counsel for Aon, framed the issue succinctly in The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, when he wrote, “I will forever associate your face with the quality of work that comes under your name. If I associate your face with lumps of coal, I will not ask for your help on other cases.” This quote highlights how cultivating quality,and successful employee alumni impacts your firm’s brand, regardless of what professional service you are in,.
As more and more firms implement employee-alumni programs to bolster their brand and business development efforts, the impact of your past employees on your brand will continue to grow. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, many companies like SAP, Nielsen, and The Gates Foundation are following the way of McKinsey and Ernst & Young by implementing and promoting employee alumni programs. Law firms, accounting firms, and consulting firms, have for years benefited and actively leveraged the diaspora of employees as a means of securing business and bolstering the sales pipeline.
To avoid the downside scenario of having inferior employee brand ambassadors, it is critical to invest in training. For years, Private Equity Primer’s Deal Sherpa, Richard Grosshandler, taught an afternoon course on modeling for the private equity interview to outgoing analysts at Harris Williams & Co. Harris Williams embraced the simple fact that training employees is a broadcast beacon to the quality of your firm's services. Investing in training today helps firms reach the next summit of performance while enhancing the branding and future sales efforts of those firms.
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