Is Employer Branding Ethical? ⚖️🗝️ EBH
And other news from the "lying spin doctors" team.
Questions we need to stop answering:
Where should employer brand live? (Who cares??? What matters is why are you investing in it? This is like asking Taylor Swift what microphone she uses.)
How do I measure my employer brand? (This question is like asking, “What’s the best car?” I don’t know. What did you want it to do? Measure that.)
What’s the ROI of employer branding? (I don’t know. Are you going to make it TA’s cheerleader, or are you going to let it create some real value?)
How can I build the best brand? (Brands are neither good nor bad. They are only strong or weak.)
These questions seem designed keep us stuck in first gear instead of making the greatest possible impact.
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🧮 How inclusion is a competitive advantage. »
🧮 What the ancient Greeks can teach us about better writing. »
🧮 Spilling tea: The dynamics of challenging a “superior.” »
🧮 “Sell the brand, not the category” is good advice. Translation for EB: Don’t sell science roles in general, sell the specific role in your company. Seems obvious, but I see it a LOT. »
🧮 The 3-minute guide to employer brand survival. »
🧮 Strong brands know how to make things simple. »
🧮 Talent Culture talks about how toxic culture destroys wellbeing. My challenge: Toxic cultures almost never see themselves as “toxic.” They call it “performance-based” or maybe “100% mission-focused.” So the challenge is in understand when your culture has tipped
🧮 Even businesses are starting to realize that we have too many rounds of interviews. »
🧮 The next generation of rewards are human-centered. »
🧠🔌 AI Post of the week: Automation vs Augmentation. (For reference, Shane Gray is one is the smartest thinkers in TA tech, so his newsletter is going to be worth the subscription) »
If you’re interested in seeing new opportunities in your work,
reply with the word, “unstuck.”
Ethics in Employer Branding?
I can’t be the only person who gets told by recruiters and other TA people that employer branding is “spinning at best and lying at worst” can I?
It’s happened to me a bunch, so I assume it’s something you’ve heard, as well.
And it’s worth getting into.
Because the reason is point of view continues is because of a misconception, one of. the biggest in our work.
First, let’s reverse engineer the idea that we’re spin doctors. Why on earth would we want to spin and lie? What’s the value? Wouldn’t that just make recruiting harder, as those candidates who got a rosy picture from our ads and slick content react to seeing negative Glassdoor reviews, press, or even word of mouth?
Absolutely. The greater the gap between what we portray and what candidates see/find with their own eyes, the more likely they will be to walk away, a likelihood that increases the more the candidate has options (meaning: anyone worth hiring).
So the only reason we would spin and lie would be to create a short-term boost to top-of-the-funnel metrics (number of applications per requisition, etc) with no concern for what happens after the application.
In other words, we get away with spinning and lying because we only think in quantity and not quality. We don’t care about whether an applicant is a good candidate or a great hire. We only care that they apply.
That is: The assumption is that we only care about quantity, not quality.
Now, sadly, this is an idea that gets foisted on a LOT of (mostly junior-level) branders, that their metrics are quantity-driven, mostly because quantity is a LOT easier to measure than quality. And also because many companies are still very limited in their thinking about employer branding. This limitation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as companies put branding in a tiny box and then are stunned that they don’t make an impact.
So here’s an initial draft of an employer brander’s code of ethics. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
We don’t lie. We select positive things to draw people in, but we know that creating a more complete picture of working there helps the company in the long term.
We serve the company. Yes, we have constituents across all aspects of the business, but in the end, we exist to help grow the business.
We see the whole funnel. We think above the funnel (people who aren’t in-market), within the funnel (creating a clear picture of what it’s like to work here), at the bottom of the funnel (increasing offer acceptance rates), and below the funnel (retention, off-boarding and boomerangs).
We are always growing. This is true as a function and as professionals, as we look for new ways to extend and strengthen the brand.
We are inclusive. We see “clarity of brand” as the means to attract people who might not normally not be served by traditional recruiting and talent acquisition. That same clarity leads us to include more functions and people from around the company in expressing the brand.
We don’t denigrate. We don’t look better by making others look worse. We know that the more clear we are, the more the right people are attracted to what we offer. We don’t need to bad-mouth anyone else to make that happen. There is a lid for every pot.
Regardless of the size of your company, the industry, or how “sexy” you think it is, every company has an employer brand. More importantly, every company can extract real value out of their employer brand. And you don’t necessarily need an expensive EVP to make it happen. Let’s talk about your challenges and what a solution would look like.
Get your entire team to build your employer brand together. »
Employer Brand Breakdown video series. »
Biotech Recruiting Chat video series. »
My listing of free resources. »
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***This Newsletter Contains No ChatGPT***