Authenticity and Employer Branding: A Match Made in Heaven5 min read.
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? In a scientific sense, the answer is yes — but the question highlights the value of perception. After all, perception is reality. And in today’s ultra-competitive labor market, organizations need their employer brand stories to be perceived as authentic as well as aspirational.
Nobody wants to work for a phony; people want to see how their work directly contributes to company progress. An authentic employer brand should bridge today’s truth and tomorrow’s business aspirations if it’s going to add value to the organization.
Defining the Employee Value Proposition
An employer brand can be summed up as an employer’s reputation as a place of work. At the heart of it is the employee value proposition. If I was asked to define “employee value proposition” — often abbreviated as EVP — I would say it’s the “give and get” of the employee experience. In other words, “Here’s where we are today, and here’s where we want to go. If you, the employee, help us get there, here’s what you’ll get out of it, too.”
Some might argue that you can’t mix your future business aspirations with your current reality and still call your EVP authentic, but that’s garbage. A world-class employer brand is aligned with the company’s vision — and it’s OK for that vision to be just out of reach. It doesn’t make it inauthentic; it just keeps your troops marching forward. It simply provides a clear direction for travel. Your EVP is only inauthentic if you misrepresent the journey.
Building the Framework
The process of bridging today’s reality and tomorrow’s business aspirations begins in the CEO’s office. After all, any CEO worth their salt always has one eye on the future. It’s their job to move the organization forward. They should be able to answer the following questions without missing a beat:
- Where’s our business going?
- What is it going to take to get there?
- What do we need to start doing?
- What do we need to stop doing?
- What do we need to continue doing?
This is the framework needed to craft a “give and get” EVP that allows teammates to thrive as individuals and contribute to the organization’s collective success. Then, it’s a matter of taking that message to the marketplace. Sure, some candidates might find you organically, but you’ll need more than luck on your side if you hope to scoop up the top talent.
Sage Therapeutics: A Case Study of Authenticity in Business
Sage Therapeutics, one of our current clients, offers a great example of a company that tells an authentic employer brand story. Its primary goal is to become the most empathetic employer on Earth. It’s committed to giving employees a way to contribute and find fulfilment while feeling genuinely valued as human beings.
The employer brand we devised is “Enjoy the Journey.” It underscores Sage’s dedication to helping its employees make the most of life’s rich experiences. One of many concrete manifestations of this dedication comes in the company’s incredible parental and family benefits, which show employees in a tangible way that the company respects and supports them as workers and people. It says, “We value your contribution to the company journey so much that we are committed to showing you we value you as a person, too.”
Would you like to learn more about authenticity and the employer brand? Secure your spot in our Employer Brand Sprint course today.