The importance of the team for the trustworthiness of the company
Personality is one of the main pillars for exuding trustworthiness. But which personalities are we talking about? The boss, the management, the sales department? No, it has to be more: The team is in demand. Showing only a few people wastes a lot of potential in trust communication.
Why is it important to feature people from the company in external communications, especially on the website? Trust is focused on interpersonal contact. If I have trust in an employee, I often automatically have trust in the company. The car salesman who convinces me of the dealership's service and good deals makes sure I buy there. I never see the boss when I’m in doubt. It’s not necessary either. This does not always work, but it is a common connection. That's why it's such an important solution in content creation to show the people already on the website who are supposed to convince me of themselves and the company later in personal contact. But there are even more ways to use the power of corporate personalities to communicate your trustworthiness.
The boss, managing director, founder, CEO or whatever her or his name is, of course, important. No one functions alone (except solo self-employed people). Still, business leaders shape their companies. And they have, at least formally, the role of appearing for the company and representing it to the outside world. Therefore, this person should also be shown in particular. Different roles come into question here.
For various reasons, however, this is not always easy. I remember well the boss of one of my digital agency's clients. The company had about 2,000 employees. The boss had taken over the company from his father. An excellent technician, unfortunately so shy that photos (or even video) were out of the question. He played his role only in the background. (The company was sold a few years later. It was probably altogether not his thing). All the more, in such a scenario, the other team members have to shine on the outside.
Nowadays, it is a matter of course to show employees from the company in the career area as well. That's good. But I'm all about targeting new customers. Customers don't click on jobs. The film with impressions from the company, produced with a lot of love, unfortunately passes them by. Too bad. The clips produced here could well have shone elsewhere on the website.
Who should be shown?
The larger the company, the more difficult this question is to answer. Of course, with over 100 employees, you can no longer show everyone. When we've designed websites and asked the question of who is important to the company, we've always gotten interesting answers.
Sometimes it is the development engineer who is responsible for the special features of the product. Especially in the B2B business he is of great importance. Or the sales manager is the most important person in the company. He knows the market and the customers like no other and knows what they are interested in. Or the innovation manager, who brings the further development of the product range forward in coordination with the customers. Sometimes, however, the team assistant is the soul of the company, who has been on board for 20 years, knows everyone and knows what's going on everywhere. All of these personalities have their place in the company's external image.
Many company managers are reluctant to show too many employees, especially from development, because they are afraid of poaching. This concern is unfounded. Employees are present and findable on LinkedIn and XING anyway. Therefore, there is no longer any reason not to show everyone who wants to and has an outward impact.
What is the best way to show the team and employees?
The first impulse in showing the team is the team photo. My experience is that this is a rather difficult undertaking. In a company with about 30 employees, I have experienced that the head of development just wouldn't come from his workplace for the group photo. After the boss then went to him, it turned out that he was a former GDR citizen. He was to be seen on a group photo with friends. These friends started an escape attempt and were caught. Although he was not involved, he was jailed for two years on suspicion alone based on the group photo. Bizarre. Certainly an extreme case. But many other employees generally don't want to be photographed for whatever reason. You have to respect that. Fortunately, there are always enough others who are easily persuaded or even really enjoy it.
The group picture also has the big disadvantage that it quickly becomes outdated. Already after 1-2 years, a few participants are usually eliminated. What do you do with the group photo then? As a rule, it is not taken again, but simply deleted.
That's why I think pictures of individuals or small groups on the shelf are much more suitable. These photos should not look posed, but should provide as authentic a look behind the scenes of the company as possible. As a rule, there are enough places on websites to accommodate at least 5-10 such photos. This gives an interested new customer a nice insight.
A team page with individual pictures of the team members is also commonplace in many industries, for example in agencies, law firms or consulting companies. But why this is not done in so many other industries is a mystery to me and, for me, a major omission.
When it comes to the photos, you should make sure that the pictures are taken by a top photographer, of course. It makes an infinite difference if the photographer is relaxed and professional. This is the only way to convince even photo-critical employees (and there are always a few of them).
Authenticity is the most important keyword for me here. If every employee is compelled to put on an orange garment or appear in a certain pose, this is usually the stupid idea of a marketing agency, silly at best, but unfortunately not purposeful. Showing the private hobbies of employees can also be sympathetic and offer points of contact, but it can also cause irritation. It's better to be cautious.
Finally, the silver bullet is background stories as website content that showcase passion in tandem with dedicated employees. A video interview gives the best possible impression of the employees and generates enormous trust - even if I have not yet met the company in person.
Film clips with the relevant team members can also be an essential part of an image video. Well done, this is an important building block for the already interested customer that can convince him to make contact.
And when the new customer then wants to contact them, they can see directly who is responsible for their area. At least a picture with name and direct contact details. Even better with a link to his blog posts or a story with insight into his activities.
As you can see, there are many ways to integrate team members into a website. Showing these personalities (and that's all of us!) is an opportunity for trust with new customers that you shouldn't deprive yourself and your company of.