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Business cards, employer branding, and employee pride

Employer branding, employee morale, recruiting, sales, the business card covers it all.

Employer branding, employee morale, recruiting, and sales, the business card covers it all.

Business Cards

Why are business cards overlooked?  As an HR Pro/Am, and a proponent of company culture, I firmly believe that every employee should have business cards. How much do I believe in this? Three-month summer interns receive business cards when I am on watch.

In this day and age, I can’t believe there are still companies out there that think employees don’t need business cards. Seriously dude? If you believe in someone enough to hire, pay and assume liability for them, then, aren’t they worth the paper to write their name, title, and contact information on WITH YOUR BRAND AND LOGO?

I don’t see customers face to face

It surprises me how many positions consistently decline business cards. Account managers, developers, and customer service phone reps have all declined business cards because they don’t think they are going to meet face-to-face with customers. Mostly, these non-believers either worked in companies that didn’t give cards to everyone, OR they claim, “I am not going ever to see a customer so I don’t need a business card.” Unfortunately, They may have learned the latter from the former.

Yes, these are typically positions that don’t meet customers face-to-face. Yes, I can see where someone in an ivory tower would think that the expense of the piece of paper 2 inches by 3.5 inches isn’t worth the investment because he won’t ever meet face-to-face with any customers.

HRNasty’s business card philosophy

I call bullshit. Every employee has friends. Every employee knows someone in the industry. We may want to hire these friends and industry peers. We may want to do business with these industry peers. Employees represent the company at all levels, in every social circle and demographic. There is no better recruiting tool than an employee talking highly about his employer. Actually, there is something better than an employee talking positively about his employer. In my book, an employee that is talking highly about his employer AND passing out their business card is exponentially better. BOOHHYAH!

I recently met a professional athlete. The card had the team logo, the player’s name, and position. No contact info. Name and position only. No phone, no address, no Skype ID. I want a business card like that! The ultimate marketing tool and, at the same time, ever so graciously saying, “Don’t call me, call my people bitch!”. It also sends the message that the holder of this card is truly a “Baller,“.

Team Pride

My point is, without contact info, why give the athlete a business card?  Marketing and team pride!!!!

If for nothing else, I believe that employees should graciously accept business cards for their own personal brand. I have pushed hard so that business cards are issued to every position at prior companies. From the folks taking care of mail, to the engineers that will never talk with customers. At the very least, don’t get caught at the bar finding yourself being hit on by someone you are attracted to. The business card means you have a “JAY OH BEE”. A business card gets you through the initial pre-screen questions that are asked when making small talk as try to round the bases and make it to home plate:

  • Do you have a job?
  • What kind of whip are you driving? 
  • Do you live with your parents?

I have a real job

Employers want their employees to be proud of where they work and what they do.  What better way to instill pride than in a business card? A business card gives us an identity with a tribe, lets us know we belong and lets others know “they don’t”.  Do you remember how you felt when you received your very first box of business cards? For most of us, it was an “I have arrived” moment.

Back to the “But Nasty, our engineers won’t ever talk with customers” mentality.  If we instill the belief that the engineer isn’t going to talk with customers, then guess what?  Engineers are not going to want to talk with customers! They will never develop into engineers that CAN talk to customers, represent us at conferences, or sit in a booth providing tech chops as they back up the sales team.

Business Cards are cheap!

When I hear from an employee that they don’t need a business card because they don’t speak to customers, upon asking a few more questions, I usually discover that they are really just trying to save the company time, money, and hassle. It’s not a hassle, it’s worth the time, and business cards are relatively cheap.

Employees with business cards are doing the company a favor by representing themselves in a professional manner and giving potential customers, candidates, and vendors a way to contact you.

Like all companies, we try to hire smart people.  These smart peeps know and hang out with other smart peeps.  We made it easy to take the first step because the candidate was handed a business card with contact information.

Business Card Bling

Even the most technical developers with no social skills (and I mean this in the most complimentary of terms) will attend meets ups, hack-a-thons and industry conferences. Yes, they may attend Comi-Con or a WoW event. Still, even nerds (again, I mean this in a complimentary fashion) can throw down their business card bling with pride, hand out digits with style, and give potential customers and potential new hires a way to connect. Bump is passé, and cocktail napkins end up in the garbage at the end of a long night of bonding and drinking. When was the last time you accidentally threw out a business card?

For those of you who still don’t agree, I hear you.  “HRNasty, you are a dumbass. You are just making it easier for other companies to contact your employees so they can steal them away”. Shame on the HR department, shame on the manager, and shame on the company for not keeping the employee engaged and challenged. Most employees don’t leave for money alone.  It may be a factor, but it isn’t usually number 1 on the list. Employees don’t quit a company, employees usually quit a manager.

Cost of cards broken down for ROI

Business cards cost $25.00 for a pack of 250. If a developer isn’t going to talk with customers, then they aren’t passing them out. That initial box of 250 will last even longer. If they are handing them out, THIS IS A GOOD THING! How much was your last agency hire? 20% of the first-year salary? Twenty-five percent? That will buy a lot of business cards, and it just takes one! How much do companies spend on lead generation?

Last I saw, business cards were a lot more crunchy than Charmin toilet paper. Even if the roll of toilet paper is completely empty, most will use the cardboard roll before they use the sharp-edged business card. Can you imagine that paper cut? No one is going to wipe their ass on these things. Business cards are an investment in your brand, in your company morale, and in the pride of your new hire employee. Make Moves Son!

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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