Trying too hard

Potential pitfalls when an employer's brand and culture don't align
By Cissy Pau
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/18/2016

Air Canada’s discount carrier, Rouge, launched with a splash in 2013. Staff were promised the “Harvard of customer service training” through the Disney Institute. They were outfitted with trendy uniforms and assured they would fly highly coveted international routes.

But days after the launch, the Internet was abuzz about lower wages being offered to Rouge employees and employees being expected to pay for a portion of the incidentals (such as travel, meals and accommodation) related to the training. The employer brand of Rouge took an immediate hit almost before it started.

Also in 2013, online retailer Zappos piloted “holacracy” with its HR team. A management system that eliminates traditional job titles and hierarchy in favour of self-management and self-organization, holacracy was fully adopted throughout Zappos in 2015. The company also offered three months of severance or one month for every year worked, whichever was greater, to encourage any employee who didn’t believe holacracy was a good fit to leave.