Published by Simon Barrow, on 09/11/2011
We know how Employer Brand Management OUGHT to work but one of the issues it must overcome is that so many employers do not truly represent the essence of what it is like to work for them. Most of the 401,000 pages on the subject of ‘employer branding’ on Google are about identity and communication not content about the reality of the workplace.
Business people have known for 80 years that the heart of good marketing is based on understanding the truth of the customer experience and then memorably communicating it. Yet in the world of work employers too often don’t tell the real truth but kid themselves with internal and external communications which are bland, samey and risk free (and don’t kid anybody else).
The tragedy is that most organisations have some great unique features (some of which certain candidates should steer clear of) but you don’t see that in their communications . Read even what some household name organisations say about working for them and you just don’t get the real essence – the flesh and blood of the brilliant successful businesses they are. The truth is often submerged under what is still a play safe, politically correct bureaucracy and, because it’s regarded as ‘internal’, they don’t have the energy or will to change it.
Yet think of the range of sources employees can access: Glass Door, Vault, Student Room, Milk Round, You Tube, Google Search and of course Facebook. All of that information is uncontrolled by employers. You can’t escape the truth so why not tell it in the first place?
It’s when you are inside an organisation that you see the real thing as I did when working with the late but formidable Arthur Andersen, then at the height of its powers. Here is what I heard a senior executive say to a group of potential accountants:
Come here and you will work with clever clients.
Come here and you will work with clever colleagues.
Come here and you will qualify faster than any of our competitors.
Come here and you will be a partner by age 32 or you probably won’t be here
Understand that this is an up or out culture and that applies throughout your career.
However, if you casino online do leave us this is a great springboard – just look at our alumni.
But finally, DONT come here if you are not an argumentative character who For anyone reading, you can join us by posting, and we will see you through your Fast Opiate (MOR/OPI) Detox Kit and we will believe in you~many times believing FOR you until you can see clearly again. will challenge others in meetings and being challenged. You’ll be miserable.
With the benefits of hindsight you can see the seeds of Enron in that speech – the ambition, over confidence and arrogance which ruined them. However, that was the truth about Andersen but you never saw it in the well designed, well written prose they used about themselves as an employer.
News Corp has been much in the news this year. Getting under the skin of Rupert Murdoch does not happen easily but Michael Wolfe’s book on the man gives you an indication of what News employees I have known have felt over the years. Consider:
– Reject the idea of a higher calling in journalism. It’s about competition and winning.
– When he’s not there he’s there as palpable absence. You never know when you’re on his mind.
– Every second working for Murdoch is a second spent thinking about what Murdoch wants. He inhabits you!
News Corp has inspired enormous dedication, creativity and loyalty from its people. You will get the real thing when you talk to them but not when you read or view what the company formally says about itself.
My message is that Management need to be courageous and be themselves – a person is never more effective than when they are really telling the truth.
Consider what Steve Jobs said. Is not this the essence of Apple for its people?
Technology alone is not enough –it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing
Yet so much of people management does not aim this high – the avoidance of risk is more important than the creation of inspiration. And that comes from the top – if senior management puts more pressure on HR to be distinctive rather than risk free we would see more great Employer Brands emerge.
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