Please welcome Felix Wetzel to the HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board. Felix hails from Evenbase, a global digital recruitment group responsible for brands such as JobSite.com and Broadbean Technology where he leads strategy development. Felix is a leading commentator on digital marketing, social media and the future of recruitment whose career has included marketing and journalism roles. Full Bio »
Employment Branding – the Emperor’s New Clothes?
by Felix Wetzel
The term ‘employment branding’ and its current interpretations are as misguided as many approaches to ‘corporate social responsibility’ and ‘social enterprise’. Social enterprise in essence is operating a good business that provides work, spreads the wealth and takes the community into consideration. After all, the healthier the business, the healthier its contribution is to wider society. The ultimate CSR program of any company is to grow and be healthy and spread the wealth and value through employment and work.
It’s the same with employment branding. Instead of focusing on employment branding I would suggest focusing on enabling the growth of a fantastic culture and the building of an engaged workforce. That should come as natural as keeping the community in mind when doing business. Too much emphasis on employment branding just gets in the way of building a great team or returning to the excitement and passion we all felt when the company was in the start-up phase.
And here is why:
- “The value of a brand can now be defined as the number of active participants in a company’s network” – Regis McKenna, Total Access, 2002
- “The capital is in the people and not in the enterprise” – Lord Rothermere (Chairman DMGT), 2012
- “In an increasingly connected world the importance of institutions in the public diplomacy process will diminish while the importance of citizens as diplomats and key influencers will increase” – Felix Wetzel, Brand England, 2006.
Let’s weave these 3 strands together:
The people acting on behalf of your brand are the brand and the brand is defined by the conversation people have about the brand and by the interactions they experience with the brand. In our connected world, enabled and driven by social and mobile, the significance of person to person diplomacy, peer to peer interactions is increasing and is more impactful and effective than traditional diplomacy. This can be translated into ‘direct experience is more important than communicated experience’. The citizens of the brand are your employees, the most active participants in a companies’ network.
Therefore it makes (business-) sense to invest into building a very engaged workforce. A very engaged workforce is built (and above average results are delivered) when strategy and culture
go hand in hand, reinforce each other and therefore bring the purpose of a brand to life. A great culture and a great purpose result in stimulated employees who proactively talk about and live the culture day in day out, whilst relentlessly delivering against the shared purpose. In turn the company becomes a magnet for top performers. For example, Zappos are not well known for their employment brand, but for the culture they built and the experience they deliver.
All efforts that are poured into an employment brand would be better utilised in building a better company culture and identity (joined with a clear strategy and a compelling purpose), which will be the best employment branding exercise in itself and rids business of another unnecessary complication.