One of the most tangible and visible aspects of any organization’s brand are its employees.
How those employees look, act and perform their job functions speaks volumes to customers, prospects and even the other employees.
As I was driving into work this morning, I was behind a car with the vanity plate NAWTGRL. At first I just laughed to myself but then I got to thinking about the consequences of a license plate like that.
Putting legalities aside…let’s say that you had interviewed a woman and found her to be qualified for a client-centric job opening. She would be out and about on your behalf (in her vehicle) and clients would not only see her but probably ride in her car to meetings, lunches etc.
In your mind, as the interview was winding down, you were thinking that she might be a good fit. But as you walked her to the door, you noticed her license plate — NAWTGRL.
Would that influence your decision to hire her and have her represent your organization?
How do you balance a prospective or current employee’s right to express themselves (vanity plates, tattoos, hair color/style, piercings, extreme (either side) political opinions/signage in their office, etc.) or do you think that has no business being a part of your hiring decision?
I don’t know the “right” answer — just curious to hear your thoughts.
For my part, it wouldn’t be a problem. Not in any of the companies I’ve worked with. But I do suppose it would depend a lot on the individual work place. Having worked in web and the so-called creative field, personal expression is considered an asset, even in the form of bold vanity plates, tattoos, piercings and similar. However, taken to the extreme, say if a vanity plate or bumper sticker expressed racial or religious negative statements, I might reconsider. Just as someone in a very conservative industry might have a problem with a visible tattoo.
I would however, consider which clients I let someone like the girl you mention, take on. I wouldn’t send her to do the first ever meeting with a new or prospective client in a traditional, conservative industry.