Your Organisation is not for Everyone, Celebrate That3 min read.
If you describe your employee experience, and talk about the concept of a challenge, or harsh reality in your workplace, it should repel 50% of your audience. Here’s why…
A major success criterion of your employee value proposition is galvanising your internal audience, while polarising your external audience with the same message.
If you describe your employee experience, and you talk about the concept of a challenge, or some sort of adversity, or harsh reality in your workplace, it is likely that 50% of your audience might look at it and think, “Wow! That sounds difficult. There are easier ways of making money, that's not for me”.
And that’s exactly what you want - to polarise your talent audience.
The important thing is that other people will like it and lean into it and those are the people that you want to apply for your position.
Internally, you're acknowledging and appreciating how people are thriving within those conditions. You’re galvanising people together so that they feel acknowledged and appreciated.
Externally, people may baulk at it, or they might like the sound of the challenge, and imagine how they might get fulfilment and contentment from doing it. The impact, purpose and belonging that we talk about a lot.
So, the litmus test for your recruitment marketing is, does it split an external audience, whilst bonding people together internally, with shared recognition and appreciation for what they're doing?
Maybe there's some requirement for sacrifice and commitment, or a high-performance element, that not everybody can attain. That can be very enticing to people who want and need to work with people of a certain calibre and daunting to others.
Employer Brand Strategy
As an example, work/life balance seems to be pretty much non-existent in Amazon, where one employee was recently quoted as saying “the robots are treated better” and reportedly it's pretty much non-existent in Apple too. People know that but obviously they are still able to recruit staff.
How? It’s because some people are attracted to that proposition because they want to know that they've got the stamina and focus to be able to perform at that level with others, and get the benefit, which is to see their work in millions of people's hands every day and reach their potential faster than they can anywhere else.
Some people will rise to it, and some people won’t because they want to have a life. Both attitudes are fine. The point, however, is that you've taken somebody to a decision. If your Employer Brand doesn't drive somebody to a decision, then it's not working hard enough.
The whole point of creating an Employer Brand is that it should provide people with the information they need to make an informed choice as to whether an organisation is the right fit for them or not.
As part of our Give and Get Employer Brand strategy we use a model that we call the Three Cs to bring more focus and clarity on who you are as a candidate, and what you think your main strengths are in line with the business.
The Three Cs are Career Catalyst, Culture and Citizenship.
Typically, a Career Catalyst employer offers proof of career advancement, access to learning and development but may also be a company where there's little or no work life balance and is not a very warm and fuzzy place to be. Stay for two years, however, and the likelihood is that you can go and work anywhere. That’s the attraction for some. And that’s Amazon all day long.
A Culture company offers flexibility and agility, managerial support, equity and inclusion, financial security and plenty of perks and benefits.
A Citizenship organisation is all about integrity. In leadership, through corporate social responsibility (CSR), through a political stance or diversity programmes that provide the purpose, impact, and sense of belonging certain candidates seek. Think Patagonia.
Some companies straddle more than one of those Cs. Google for example has both strong Culture and Career Catalyst credentials.
Strategically, those three Cs can be your North Star, aligning with what the business needs, what its strengths are, and showing how to forge relevance with a talent audience.
The basic principle of repel or compel or galvanise or polarise is the core concept of our Give and Get methodology for Employer Branding. You must be confident and comfortable with the fact that your organisation is not for everybody. It’s true of every employer.
Internal Employer Branding
Having polarised our external audience, how then do we galvanise our internal audience?
When I'm investigating this in the research phase, my favourite question is, “if it was your job to dissuade somebody from working here, and you couldn't lie, what would you say?”.
The replies will usually be along the lines of “there's no structure”; “you've got to figure things out for yourself”; “no career guidance” and so on.
The thing is, some people like freedom and autonomy, some people hate the fact that there's no guardrails.
So, usually when you ask that you get to the truth quickly. Once you know the answer, you ask “Why do you stay?”; “How do you find it challenging?”; And “how do you overcome that challenge?”.
By asking those questions, you get to the truth pretty quick and that's what people are galvanised around. It’s the shortest distance from where you are to finding out the true source of passion and pride. If you can find the biggest obstacle in the employee experience, that’s where the gold lies. It is X marks the spot on the treasure map.
People will often then tell you a story of significant passion and pride because they've overcome a certain obstacle. So, you now get to hear what's on the other side, and whether it's worth sticking around for.
Some people will find that underwhelming and others will think it’s what they’ve been searching for their whole life. Don’t be afraid to help them find out which is which.