News broke this week of one of the world’s most recognisable brands changing a long-held hiring rule.
This shift in employee expectation both opens up new markets of candidate opportunity and asks its customers to challenge long-held biases and beliefs of what that brand should “look” like.
It was, of course, the news that Virgin Airways are letting people with visible tattoos become cabin crew.
- “Virgin Atlantic has lifted its ban on cabin crew having visible tattoos, the first airline to do so. Virgin said that the rule change reflected that “many people use tattoos to express their unique identities” and was in line with its policy on inclusion”.
Tattoos have, traditionally, never been accepted as legitimate “self-expression” in some workplaces, and many, many employers simply refuse to countenance being seen as a workplace that allows such alternative lifestyle choices.
But Virgin, like many employers across a multitude of industries, are flying the flag for change, and while that change still doesn’t include neck or face tattoos (or prison-style tattoos), it proves that the aviation industry is reassessing what it sees as visible “professionalism”.
This echoes the feeling in many other workplaces and many other industries. Times are indeed a-changing, and tattoos aren’t the only thing brands are now incorporating into more inclusive hiring policies.
The value and importance of communicating these cultural changes.
The vast majority of the recruitment world is fixated on efficiencies, candidate attraction in a pressured market, how to best integrate the right tech, ATS, onboarding software and more, and for the right reason – the candidate market is savage, and critical staff shortages exist in almost every industry, from tech to hospitality.
But forget the power of workplace culture – and how workplace cultures are changing – at your peril.
We don’t want to pull the cultural attraction to staff retention and recruitment thread again – there are enough resources and plenty of data to prove that companies and agencies who clearly and consistently communicate a company’s culture during the recruitment process (and while in-work) have improved rates of staff retention and a much more attractive recruitment process.
However, adding in narratives of positive change over a company’s life cycle to date – much like what Virgin have done – will only improve this process. Your candidates will see your brand growth in real-time, and be able to contextualise their place in your changing environment and company history. This is hiring fuel.
So, here we wanted to highlight how some of the world’s leading brands have changed their workplace cultures in light of changing norms and expectations, and the results of such changes!
Virgin Airways, visible tattoos, and their evolving policy of what cabin crew should look like.
- “The airline is to announce the change in policy to its staff, a month after it launched a branding campaign “championing individuality” – and as the aviation industry scrambles to recruit more people in key roles as demand bounces back after the pandemic”.
- Virgin have incorporated a raft of changes over the last few years, including being “one of the first airlines to relax strict makeup rules for cabin crew”.
- This move to tattoo inclusivity works alongside their wider brand culture change to less “tradition” heavy policies, and toward modernity. Staff hiring, naturally, has gone up, even as the aviation industry suffers from staff shortages.
Bolt, and the 4 day work week.
- Although there is a massive country-wide study ongoing in the UK, many leading brands have already incorporated a 4-day working week into their workplaces, echoing studies that prove efficiencies and productivity rise in teams working reduced hours.
- Bolt represents a typical 4 day week brand mover-and-shaker, and the reasons are less to do with hiring shortages, and more to do with reducing burnout and giving people more time to live, rather than work – “That’s the motivation behind our company’s experiment with a four-day workweek. We’re turning Fridays into something more like Saturdays or Sundays — genuine time off, with no planned meetings or work. Our Board, Leadership Team, and People Ops team have been supportive, and we’re eager to see how the pilot goes”.
- “The results were clear: employee well-being, morale and productivity improved. A survey taken at the end of the three-month trial period suggested healthier and happier employees, and the decision to make the policy permanent was a “no brainer”.
Dryt and working from anywhere.
- We’ve covered the rise of “digital nativism” in another blog, but the attraction and effectiveness of operations on the road cannot be ignored.
- The owners of Dyrt, a camping app, “managed to secure $11 million in funding while on the road…extended that same philosophy to their 44 employees, who are scattered around the country. The startup is still hiring for 14 open positions and plans to add more after its most recent round of funding”.
The American Red Cross and the power of humour.
- Although “having a sense of humour” may not rank high in the recruiters’ toolbelt of attractive working propositions, companies are actually finding their PR and marketing position is vastly improved if they take a little step back from rigorous company policy and filter in a few laughs.
- The case of the American Red Cross and a rogue Twitter post is one of the more fun-filled escapades of HR taking a long view of what happens when social media goes wrong, and how to turn it into both a positive (net increases in donations) and a bit of company employer brand leveraging, as the mistake was turned into a small company win.
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