The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the real employer brand is the service you receive from the people you come in to contact with in any organisation. This is particularly relevent in the service, retail or hospitality sectors. As a customer you come in to contact with people who deliver your experience.
They are usually not the best paid in the organisation and they often work long and unsociable hours. While some customers are thankful and polite, I have witnessed the same number who can be rude, demanding or just ignorant. It must be hard to keep your cool and maintain a smile and helpful attitude when faced with such’s a hard, and sometimes thankless job! If I’m honest, I’m not sure I could do it night after night.
Working in a busy kitchen is really a pressure cooker. It’s hot, fast and furious with little time or margin for error. You have to love your job to keep smiling!

Last weekend I was invited to lead a blog squad at Hard Rock Calling, a massive festival in Hyde Park featuring The Killers, Bon Jovi, Rod Stewart and many other great artists. (It’s a hard life!). This meant I was invited in to the V.I.P. area along with 1200 Hard Rock employees and prize winners. Inside the hospitality area was a bus serving cream teas on the open top, several bars and a full-size Hard Rock Cafe.

The deal with the staff was that those who were there from outside of Europe came as guests, and those from European venues were working behind bars, serving tables, in the kitchen,generally grafting.Over the three days, they really grafted. It’s easy to imagine that those who were working would feel they got the short straw in some way.

Everyone, without exception, from Friday to last thing Sunday night were a credit to the business. Having spent quite a lot of time with Hard Rock, I put this down to 3 things:

1: Recruitment

The hiring team at HRC work very much to culture. It’snot about having a great CV, going to the right school or looking right.The first selection criteria is a love for rock n roll, the rest is about personality and a genuine care for service. When you actually care about the people you hire, and it’s not about meeting numbers.If you understand how your decision is going to impact on the people you hire, then your going to make sure you make a decision that is right for everyone. Brand success depends on hires. That is why recruiters are so important.

2: Training

Everybody gets great training in what the values of the business really mean at “the schoolof Hard Rocks.” Part of the training must be about keeping smiling.Alison McCue, the Regional training Manager for Hard Rock, does a great job of translating brand and value in to real life, actions and attitude. For many businesses, brand and value live in the brochure. If the employer brand you buy at interview is not the employer brand you see , then you are on a collision course for a problem. Staff attitude is the biggest thing a customer remembers. We can forgive most things from the businesses we deal with, but a poor or insincere attitude is something we won’t tolerate. It’snot about saying sorry, welcome or enjoy your meal, it’s about meaning sorry, welcome or enjoy your meal. Employees are confident when they know their job well and understand the meaning of caring for the emotions of the customer. Skills and beliefs can only be enhanced through training both in the class room, and more importantly from supportive colleagues on the shop floor.

3: Recognition

In a retail environment, customers are not always going to say thanks.A business expects a high level of loyalty and commitment from the employees, but is not always quick to give the same back.It’s easy to think that recognition and reward is about cash, and material things. When you talk to people about what they really want, and why they often leave jobs, it comes down to a lack of recognition or appreciation. Saying thanks and a regular hat tip from the chiefs, to the people who really make the business work goes a long way. At HRC there is plenty of thanks and recognition going on. People go the extra mile a) Because THEY want to, and b)Because they know that they are appreciated. It’s not about awards or cash. Thanks and well done costs nothing to deliver, but public praise and a bit of one to one time probably has more value than anything else when it comes to internal brand loyalty.

4: Freedom of expression

When you talk to the Hard Rock employees about how they would sum up their work, the one word that keeps coming up is fun!  Who says work has to be serious all the time. In hospitality, energy and enthusiasm permeates in to every area of the business. When the staff are having a good time and smiling, it’s infectious. Throughout the weekend, everyone was smiling. My message from this to all employers, work out how to make work fun! Hard Rock do it very well. It’s about customer experience and employee experience.

5: History, legend and myth.

companies are built on the history, legends and myths of those who have gone before. Hard Rock employ a fantastic lady called Rita. She is 70, and was the first employee for Hard rock. She was there from the first day, and its Ritas job to share the tales of the past. Story’s like how Eric Clapton tried to reserve the table he wanted by hanging his guitar on the wall spontaneously, when the Park Lane venue had just opened. Story’s give people identity with the past, something to share and a sense of belonging. Be sure you share the history of your business with your gives them a sense of belonging!

Having spent three days seeing the Hard Rock staff in action, I can see how people coming in contact with either the team members or the venues, who are in the trade would want to work for Hard rock. the real employer brand is the people who make up the business, enthusiasm sells!

How do you create employer experience in order to get yourself employee branded?


My Hard Rock Calling Pictures: