Unhappy employees are bad for your brand

I read an article recently that I found profoundly disturbing. It seems that if you aren’t happy in your job, you are not alone. In fact, you are in the majority!


But why am I, a marketing specialist, talking about HR issues all of a sudden? It all boils down to taking care of your brand and the message you are putting out in the market. If your people are unhappy, they aren’t going to perform at their best. If they are not inspired, they will grow complacent. And if they don’t respect – or worse yet, downright dislike – their managers, this is bound to show up in the quality of their work as well as their overall attitude about your firm.


I’m not overly surprised at this report, to be completely honest. Even though we are well out of the economic downturn, I have heard quite a few managers express opinions that I found disturbing:

  • “She should be happy to have a job at all!”
  • “I don’t care if you have been making the same salary for 3 years, no one is getting a raise right now.”
  • “Aw, poor baby. You can’t handle the workload? There is a line of people who would be happy to have your job, so buck up!”


I realize some of the complaints were simply whining, but many of them were legitimate. Firm leaders have to keep many things in mind, certainly revenue and profitability are at the top of that list. But when extra profitability comes at the expense of the people who bring those profits it can create a situation that results in employees who feel used rather than appreciated.


Whether you realize it or not, your employees are out there representing your firm at every moment, on or off the clock. When someone asks how work is going over a beer on Friday evening, you want your people to say good things (because they’re true). Are your employees, and even your partners, sowing poisonous seeds? Is the word on the street that your office is a bad place to work, and therefore a bad firm to hire?


Because I’ve worked with so many different firms around the country, I hear a lot of gossip. And I have to tell you, some of you would be shocked to hear what your staff says about you, and about your firm as a whole, behind your back. With the economy now thriving and job opportunities flourishing, it might be time to get a good picture of what is being said about your firm outside of your walls. No amount of careful messaging and good marketing can overcome the actions and words of disgruntled staff.


When you are looking at the big picture, make sure you take into account what’s going on inside your firm as well as outside. Talk to your staff. Make sure they feel appreciated and understand that you value their contributions. Reward them for a job well done. If you don’t start, they will find an employer that does. And if that’s not enough to motivate you, be aware that your clients will too.


About the Author:

Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk (like rustic without the “t”) is the founder and owner of bbr companies llc. After having built a widely recognized and respected marketing firm, bbr marketing, she decided to make a big change in 2017 and scale her business back so she could focus on what she does best and brings her the most joy – strategic marketing planning and outsourced CMO-level services for professional services firms and other businesses. Most firms can benefit from the input of a seasoned, experienced strategic marketer, but don’t need or want to invest in that resource full-time. This way business leaders can focus on what they do best with the knowledge that their marketing (and often their marketing team) is being managed by an expert with their strategic plan always in mind. She can be reached at bonnie@bbrconsults.com.