Across the last 12 to 18 months, we have observed on an ongoing trend of HR as PR. The premise of this concept is that in addition to promoting their HR strategies with the goal of attracting and retaining the best quality employees, some companies are taking that a step further to make the case that because they treat their employees so well, you should become their customer. This is the PR part of the play.
One example of HR as PR is the trend of companies—most recently American Express—adopting more generous parental leave policies to present a more caring, family-friendly image to both employees and consumers. Another great example is the 30-second TV spot above, one of a series Lyft just released in which they satirize their leading competitor, Uber, as a diabolical entity called “Ridecorp” whose executives mock Lyft for allowing customers to tip their drivers through the Lyft app.
What’s clever about these ads is that they serve as both a recruiting pitch to drivers and a sales pitch to riders at the same time.
First, the ad points out that by being a driver for Lyft, you get tips and can earn more money, the implication being that they are a better employer (the HR part). Customers, meanwhile, receive message is that riding with Lyft is better than Uber because Lyft cares more about their drivers and lets them take tips (the PR part). It’s a message we’ve seen other rideshare startups embrace as a key component of their brand.
This is a smart strategy on Lyft’s part, and as Insight founder Justin Bariso observes at Inc, it appears to be working, as Lyft’s ads have gotten a lot more attention than Uber’s latest ad:
The Washington, DC city council voted on Tuesday to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, Buzzfeed’s Cora Lewis reports:
The raise was opposed by many in the business community, with the D.C. Chamber of Commerce releasing a poll showing half of all business owner respondents saying they would reduce their payroll and eliminate jobs if a $15 minimum was approved. Some labor advocates also expressed disappointment in the bill, saying it didn’t go far enough. The City Council rejected proposals to phase out rules that allow tipped workers to be paid at levels below the minimum wage.
D.C. employers may pay tipped staff, such as servers and nail salon workers, less than $3 an hour, with the expectation that tips will make up the rest of their wages. When business is slow and tips are scarce, employers must pay their workers the difference between their paychecks and the district’s minimum. But a 2010 White House Study found that employers often fail to make employees whole, and in 18 states, the tipped sub-minimum wage is as low as $2.13. … Under the law approved in D.C., the district’s tipped sub-minimum will rise to $5.00 per hour from its current $2.77 and then be indexed to inflation.
Aaron Davis at the Washington Post observes that the measure will create a significant disparity between the capital and neighboring Virginia, which adheres to the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. That, critics assert, will virtually guarantee an exodus of jobs from the district: