Unlocking the Culture Code: The connection between employees, leaders, teams and brands
In my recent blog post, Why Personal Brand Training May Be the Best Thing You Can Do For Your Employees and Your Company, I discussed why providing your employees with personal brand training opportunities can lead to greater job satisfaction, improved employee retention, development of your company’s future leaders, and a stronger and more consistent company brand. It just makes good sense to give your employees the knowledge they need to develop themselves personally and professionally because, at the end of the day, their personal brands will impact not only their professional growth but also the function of the teams they work within, the success of company leadership, and the overall company brand.
A great place to start in understanding all the different personal brands in a company and how they fit within the corporate culture is to assess the underlying personality traits of both the individuals and the company. There are a variety of different assessment tools or surveys that can be used for this. But my favorite instrument for this purpose and one I use with clients I work with at The Brand Teacher is the Archetype assessment. You might have just said to yourself “a what-a-type assessment?!” I hear ya; not a lot of people are familiar with the term Archetype, let alone what an Archetype assessment is or how it can be used in branding, personal branding, leadership development, team building, and more. So here’s an overview of what Archetypes are, along with how they can be used with employees to build stronger leadership, employer, and corporate brands.
I think the best definition of Archetype comes from CultureTalk. They define Archetype as: “A symbol, theme, setting, or character type that recurs in different times and places in myth, literature, and rituals so frequently as to suggest that it embodies essential elements of ‘universal’ human experience.” To break it down more simply, Archetypes, based on the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, are frameworks for categorizing people (real or fictional), brands, or even companies using universal traits and characteristics that we all understand because they show up repeatedly throughout our lives in literature, movies, and more. For example, Indiana Jones from Raiders of the Lost Ark can be defined as the Explorer Archetype. There are 12 basic Archetypes that can be used to understand a person’s, brand’s, or company’s personality traits, behaviors, motivations, and more.
And while Archetypes have many applications in business (it would take many blog posts to discuss them all!), it’s their specific application to personal brands and how they are connected to a company’s culture and employment brand that I want to touch on here.
Let’s take company culture, to begin with. A company is really nothing more than a collection of people working together toward a common goal. But, each company has it’s own unique culture and specific dynamics associated with that culture that drives it every day. If everyone on the team is not clear on what the company culture is it can cause discord throughout the organization and filter down to the customer experience. But, when you understand your company’s culture including its underpinnings, nuances, beliefs, and values through the Archetype assessment you can better ensure that everyone on the team is working toward the same goals and delivering the brand experience in a way that is authentic to the brand’s essence. This deeper knowledge of the company’s Archetype and associated characteristics allows each team member to deliver a brand experience that is not only authentic but also consistent. And consistency builds trust with your audience.
Now, if you really think about it, you’re not only marketing your company to your customers or clients, but you’re also marketing it to potential employees. This is referred to as your employer brand. And how your employer brand is perceived by potential new hires can impact your ability to attract and retain employees who are not only highly skilled but who are also a good fit with your organizational culture. So, once again, knowing the Archetype of your company’s unique culture and all the values, motivators, beliefs, and traits associated with it will help you message it accurately to job seekers so you can identify job candidates who will be the best fit for your organization. And we all know that skills can be taught, but fit with the company culture can’t. So finding the right-fit employees is key to a smoothly running company and brand.
And speaking of right-fit employees, every company should be thinking about employee development and identifying those employees within the organization who might be a good fit for leadership roles. In this case, Archetype assessments for your employees will help them and you better understand their core values, their underlying strengths, and where there may be gaps so that you can work together on a development plan that positions them for leadership within your company. This, then, ends up benefiting not only the individual employee but also the company culture as you identify future leaders who can live the company’s authentic mission, vision, and values and be successful in these leadership roles.
These are just a few of the ways that Archetypes can be used to build stronger employees, leaders, teams, companies, and brands. There’s really so much more to Archetypes and their many applications.
There’s more to solving the organizational culture puzzle than a new vacation policy or organic snacks in the break room. Culture is complicated. It is influenced on all sides by individual employees, leadership styles, team dynamics and how well the brand attracts talent. To build a culture that thrives, you need an integrated approach.
In this one-hour webinar, we introduced a simple framework that uses universal stories called Archetypes to pull all the pieces together. We demonstrated how uncovering an Archetypal profile can help:
- Employees craft personal brands and professional growth plans
- Leaders optimize strengths to move strategies forward
- Teams crystallize around a shared vision
- Brands reflect the unique personality of the culture