The other week I was asked by AskGrapevine HR for my views of what others may think of the public sector, linked to the economic downturn. Whilst acknowledging that my views of what others might think of our sector may be way off the mark, my rather glib response was that I thought we had taken a pretty big hit. If I had been pushed, I could have repeated what some unfriendly sorts have said about the public sector which is that its going down the toilet, with a more moderate view being that we are at least in the bathroom territory! As unfair as this perception may be, it is nevertheless there and not helpful in terms of us trying to recruit new people or in keeping our existing employees engaged and motivated. However, such jaundiced attitudes are endemic in our society and hardly new. For instance, how many of us remember the widely held view that ‘British is Best’ (which in itself is a fairly jaundiced belief) to later turn into ‘don’t buy British whatever you do’! Why is it that us Brits seem to like extremes I wonder?
Such thoughts led me in the AskGrapevine HR piece to start thinking about those well known British brands that are doing rather well in spite of the economic climate, with the thought that maybe we could learn something from them. Being something of a petrol (and diesel) nut, I thought about JaguarLandrover. Maybe not a British owned company anymore, but certainly a British brand and doing rather well. Its doing well, not just in terms of sales volumes and product lines but also in people management, whereby the whole world it seems wants to apply for each vacancy advertised! Now….whilst we in the public sector might not be as shiny, racy or sexy as the likes of JaguarLandrover we do have our own brand attributes and I think we need to flaunt these a whole lot more. Changing peoples lives beyond material gain has got to be our brand niche and that seems to me to be pretty worthwhile stuff to shout about…..which brings me on to flaunting the HR profession….but I’ll leave that for another time….