What is a Veneer Identity?
Two of the most common traditional veneers are dental and wood veneers:
Veneers in dentistry are a thin, artificial coating over a less attractive or weakened tooth.
In carpentry, a veneer is a thin layer of finer-looking, artificial wood on top of a lower-grade quality, composite or cheaper wood.
In both cases, the veneer is an artificial layer, masking the reality underneath. The underlying reality is something the owner does not want exposed to others. Over time, these artificial layers wear down and fall apart much more quickly than the real thing.
For centuries, leaders and organizations were able to uphold such veneers to their identity:
Organizations masked the realities inside by plastering Public Relations material that claimed outstanding ethics, morals and interests in their people and consumers. The reality may be a singular focus on the investor, selling low quality goods while overextending employees.
Leaders pretended to be exemplary people champions, speaking proudly of how they treat others in the public square. Meanwhile, employees, behind closed doors, receive frequent tongue lashings and rapidly decreasing benefits.
In both cases, there were limited opportunities for exposing the reality of coarser material beneath the surface. Thankfully, this has changed. The veneer identity has met it’s demise.
R.I.P. Corporate Veneers
Want to bury the real culture of your company’s backstabbing politics and singular focus on the investor? Good luck. Now there’s countless forums for prospective employees and consumers to see beneath the surface. Some examples:
- Best and Worst Places to Work: GlassDoor.com recently released the top 50 Employers, based upon actual employee feedback.
- Connections: Want to speak with someone directly for the real picture? Find a connection on LinkedIn. Each employee is likely to give you the real picture – not an artificial veneer.
R.I.P. Leadership Veneers
The beauty of social media is that it enables, empowers and really, demands greater servant leadership. A recent study claims that 82% of employees trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team communicate via social media (eMarketer). There are many reasons for this, including the removal of the veneer. The executive who does not utilize Social Media will find it more difficult to build support and a following.
Thankfully, the time has come to bury corporate and leadership veneers. Will there still be some roaming the earth? Of course, but like their walking dead zombie counterpart, these veneer identities will meander aimlessly with less and less support. Over time, a lack of human flesh to feed off will lead to their final demise.