When your team refuse to get their photograph taken for the website, what can you do?
Actually, you can do quite a lot: because it’s your firm! This challenge is a great opportunity to help involve your team in a deeper way with the firm they’re employed by: to help them understand how things are changing in your firm, and why, and how it impacts them for good.
Of course you know your website will have a better impact on potential new clients when they can connect with your firm personally – with your team. That means including photographs, video, personal information. Showing the humanity of the humans who work for your firm.
But what’s in it for your team?
Why would they suddenly be excited about a photograph or sharing personal information, when they’ve never done it before?
What happens when they balk at recording video, or refuse to engage with social media?
You’re tempted to think, well, if they won’t do it, they won’t do it. Too bad. I guess we missed an opportunity there.
The truth is, it’s your firm. You can run it the way you want: and if you want a firm that is personable, human, and approachable, then getting photographs taken and shared is not an option anymore.
You don’t have to go in hard or aggressive and make your team’s lives miserable! This is a process, a change. No one likes change when it happens instantly. When it’s slowly introduced, and done well, the right people will come round to it.
Speaking of which, here’s a really important truth as you begin to make changes of this kind within the firm:
You may discover, during the process, that there are people who work for your firm who are not a fit anymore.
As you change your brand, your website, the content you share; as you create values and work on living them out; change will happen.
In the book Traction by Gino Wickman (highly recommended by the way, go buy it and read it if you want to work on scaling your firm), he points out that as you make changes to your business, the inevitable truth to accept is that some people will need to either change roles within the firm, or even leave altogether.
You have to accept that as a possible outcome.
“If you want to grow, you have to understand that not everyone is going to be able to keep up and remain in the same seat forever.”
What’s fascinating about photographs (and video and social media and all of those related things which show your team’s humanity) is that it’s not actually about the photograph.
It’s about deeper things.
- Is this a person who is willing to grow and change?
- Are there personal issues you can help them work through, so they can not only deal with this photograph issue but also grow personally so they enjoy their work more?
- Is it possible this person is in the wrong role?
- Is it possible this person is not a fit with your firm anymore?
And there are questions for you the owner as well.
- Have you truly worked through your brand – who you are as a firm, what your values and culture are?
- Have you involved the team in that process, and shared your thinking and why? Are they all on board or at least discussing it with you honestly?
- Are you showing a good example by getting your photograph taken, recording video, sharing openly and honestly your own humanity?
- Are you bringing them along the journey, or are you just ordering them to do something hard?
If the accountants who work for your firm think of themselves as old school accountants, you’ve got a problem. (The kind which means it’s okay to hide in a corner, only talk about accounting-related topics, not use or engage with social media, not show any humanity, not be involved in the marketing of the firm.)
Rest assured you are not alone in this issue. A lot of accounting firms are facing this same problem with their team – and it will be a slow change. Here are some things you can do to help:
1. Offer the team only two choices: either a photo, or a video.
It’s their call. One firm did this and every single person chose photo except one person who actually chose video! They were shocked and thrilled, as she’s quite quiet!
Remember, if you do offer this, be ready to take them up if they are willing to do video! Make sure you’ve got a videographer on hand, or at a minimum a phone with a mini tripod and microphone.
2. Make sure they understand what’s in it for THEM, not just for the firm.
Your employees need to see why getting their photograph taken helps clients and prospects, gives a good impression of the firm, and helps you stand out from other firms. However, they might feel they’re just being steamrollered into something to make you and the firm more money. It’s equally important they understand what’s in it for THEM. When you help your team have better connections with clients, then those clients will talk to them more, be more open, be more likely to reply to emails and phone calls, be more interesting and their kind of person. This makes their job easier!
3. Get a good photographer who is able to relate to the team and help them feel comfortable.
As a former photographer myself, I cannot stress enough how important this is. Good photography is 90% people skills and 10% technical skills. There are a lot of photographers who are technically good, but can’t ease people’s feelings or work with them to help reassure them. If you’ve got accountants who are nervous, worried, or even outright terrified, you need a photographer who can handle this. First and most importantly it will help your team; but secondly it will give you better photographs to use for your marketing.
4. Book out a whole day (or a half day) for photographs and video, and plan it well.
Make it fun, and interesting, and a small part of a bigger thing you’re doing for the whole firm. If this is difficult or challenging for your team, release some of the fear by simply incorporating it into what you’re doing for the firm. A day out. A strategy day. A planning day. Oh, and a few photos, that’s all, nice and simple.
5. Make it a standard part of your new team onboarding for every new team member, from day one.
Show that from here on out, this is how you do things here. Do it on day one. Get a good photographer to come in, take the photographs, even record some video.
(By the way, one of PF’s next “done for you campaigns” is going to be a “Team Onboarding” kit which will help you build an onboarding process for new team members. Stay tuned on that one!)
The great news is, once you do this (and keep doing it), you’ll have photographs you can use in many different places, including:
- Website – team page, about page, bios
- Social media
- Email footers
- Business cards
- Xero or QBO directory
- …and many others!
If you need help addressing your brand (who are you anyway, and who is your firm?), book a one-to-one branding workshop with PF now.
And let us know how it goes! We’d be glad to give you further direction based on your firm’s situation.