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How the organizational image affects the careers and indeed lives of its employees is the topic of today’s post. Simply stated: If an organization’s image is high, the employees  benefit. If an organization’s image is in the dumps, the employees suffer. Period.

As an excellent case in point, look at the Satyam example. Over the last few months,  Satyam – which was considered a major player in the global IT services business- has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The story is too well known to be repeated. Briefly, a scandal of immense proportions has broken out- which is affecting the lives and careers of thousands of people. Here is a summary in BBC News.

Now that the image of Satyam has taken an unprecedented beating, employees at large are finding it difficult to deal with non-work issues which till recently came easily to them- ranging from getting rental accomodation, bank loans, prospects of studying abroad and even marriage proposals.

This underscores the point that we often ride on the image of the organization we represent. If the image is strong, we get the goodies. People are more than willing to rent their houses to us, very happy to advance us loans and even- in a country like India, in particular -place us fairly high up in the matrimonial stakes. But the moment that image is shattered, everything vanishes, as the hapless Satyam employees are finding out.

Yet, if you are objective, you can’t fault the system. Would you give me a loan if you doubted my ability to pay you back? Would you rent me your house if you are not certain whether I will get paid salary at all? Would you encourage your daughter to marry me, if there are chances that I may be dragged to court or perhaps even shipped off to jail ?

It’s human nature to tar everyone with the same brush. It is unfortunate but a fact of life that our fortunes are totally tied to those of our organization. Most Satyam employees- and there are over 50,000 of them- were probably not even remotely involved in the financial scandal. But they are paying the price for their association- however remote-with their former Chairman and the public face of the organization- Ramalinga Raju.

That’s the power of organizational image.