Using a Strong Shared Services Brand to Attract and Motivate the Best Talent

This blog was originally featured on the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network’s website on October 10th, 2013.

One of the great challenges of a shared services division is to attract the best talent and keep them motivated. This is understandable. Because the concept of “shared services” has built into it a negative stereotype from the start, creating and managing a strong internal “brand” can accomplish a number of important things:

  • It can signal the true value the shared services team provides and define value in a new way
  • It can be a beacon to attract the best talent
  • It can keep the team not only motivated, but also excited to continually elevate the value of what the team can deliver.

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Because of the evolution of shared services offerings, one of the downsides is that internal clients sometimes feel resigned to work with what they are given. This built in perception can communicate an “I guess I have to work with them” attitude, rather than a more positive expectation of bringing new ideas and solutions to the party. But it doesn’t have to be this way. A strong offering can be exciting to clients, and even more importantly to the shared services team. Rather than just being neutral, a strong shared services brand can create energy and a sense of importance of the value that shared services provides, well beyond normal expectations. If well crafted, a strong brand can signal that the unit is always looking for new and better ideas, and also new ways to deliver value to internal clients. Think of the brand as being a pillar of pride and enthusiasm.

Equally important is crafting an internal “brand” that will attract the best candidates. Leaders of shared services organizations understand that if they define their brand with clarity and excitement, job candidates will flock to join the unit, considering it in a new light. By signaling how the unit is important and creates value, it can appeal to a broader talent pool. This, in turn, builds a roster of the best minds to continually look at strengthening the shared services value offering. Thus, the brand can be a beacon generating a continual value loop.

So rather than simply becominga mandated corporate function, a shared services group can really become an engaging and exciting place to work. It is up to the leaders to spend the calories to shape a unique and powerful internal brand, and then use every opportunity to promote it. This is a most worthy endeavor as it benefits the SSO associates, internal clients, and ultimately the business itself.