Ray Ray Thorne finally used bullshit in a post (her never, never uses ugly words). She took great issue with Jerry Albright saying that “Employment Brand” is simply bullshit.
She wrote a post debating the issue (see link in discussion forum). She opines that perhaps it’s a case of you say to- may- toes and i say to-mot-toes
I got into this little debate myself this week on twitter with Boorman. Jerry just says, “It’s bullshit”. Being a verbose sort it takes me a lot more words than i can tweet to debate anything so here’s Texas Talkin. As to the tomaytoes -tomatoes let me just say that there are some places where that fruit is known as "maters".
That bit of ignorance being exploited, i'll come down somewhere closer to Jerry but not totally. (i endeavor to give the other side a chance, uh if you believe that i have some recruiting software i want to sell you bubba.) Here's why I might not be totally in the BS camp. In a small office or even a medium size company with one location it may be possible to have a consistent corporate culture. We went from calling it a "work environment" to "corporate culture", sorry i can"t make my mouth say "employment brand".
I know what a brand is it's an identifier like Ford or Cadillac or the cowboy hat that is freeze branded on my horses and the M7 on a few cows and what the reputation of that product, horse, cow means to the buying public. It's a good brand, a bad brand , an expensive brand or a moderately priced brand. A brand can be a name or a reputation that the name stands for to the public. It's built over a period of time by a product or a service being consistently good, bad or mediocre. When you see a cowboy hat brand on a horse you will know that horse won’t buck or it wouldn’t be wearing the hat brand. If I brand it and it does buck it goes the way of the Edsel. The brand has to stand for something consistent so you know it and trust it or know to stay away from it.
Unless we clone one person or go robotic with the robotics being operated by robots, i can’t see a situation where a group of people (employees) what they do and how they do it (employment) can be called a brand. A band perhaps but not a brand. As in “half the people in that company are a band of thieves.” Really, what is the other half like? “Oh they are great, honest as the day is long.” Get the drift here. Ok, maybe a cloistered order of nuns might have an “employment brand.” I’ll give it up on that one since I’ve certainly never spent much time in a nunnery.
Now here is why "employment brand" only makes sense in pretty small organizations, maybe. You have a small office normally managed by the owner or a manager selected by the owner who then hires the rest of the staff or has the final nod on who gets hired. You will have a consistent company culture because the people have to fit with each other and they are the product of one or two individuals who started out hiring people who ,albeit different personalities, will either get along and work well together or they are gone. So maybe you can say "Our employment brand is one of laid back, business casual , and our people are all focused on a common goal."
But even then what is the brand? You didn't really identify it because those are things that are perceived differently by different people. Business casual is very different for me than for you. I think business casual is silk pants as opposed to a skirt. You think business casual is jeans for example. Laid back to me is classical music, flexible work schedule. You like rock and a bit louder than i can stand, everybody gets in the office at the same time. So do we then say our "employment brand is jeans and rock music and we all like it that way". Cause business casual just went out the window.
But let's address why "Employment Brand" is bullshit. Let’s take a company that has a large accounting department, big IS dept. small close knit R & D group, huge Distribution division. The pres. is a great leader and therefore selects the best people he can find to lead each of those divisions.
Accounting is very structured, full of CPA's who wear ties because their boss wants it that way. He hires structured people who like to wear ties, they don't kid around and some of them are so dry they fart dust.
IS is a younger, very diverse group of bit tweakers with pony tails, except for the conservative cowboy type who is the VP and the Ex military guy who is the programming director and a flaming liberal to boot.
R & D is headed by a somewhat mad scientist and his band of test tube thumpers who know they are smarter than everybody else in the company, eat wheat germ for lunch and don't comb their hair most days. They mostly look like they have been sniffing glue at a foreign university for the duration of their PhD.
Then we move on to distribution. There are 10 distribution centers scattered all over the US. with upwards of 300 hourly workers in each location. They speak several languages, work three shifts and mostly don’t make over 10 to 12 bucks an hour except for the industrial engineers and the supply chain systems super users who spend copious amounts of time debating time motion studies.
Somehow it all works but what's the "employment brand"? There is no "employment brand" because it is different in each department depending on who is the current stud duck, what they do and it may change with the change of the stud duck even within the same group if a new one quacks in and it will always change with location. A distribution center in Atlanta is staffed, managed and operated very differently than a DC in Canada because the people are different, management style is different because the people are different.
So after that long explanation what do i say if someone asks me what is the "employment brand". The only sane answer, "well it depends". If ,of course you are defining "employment brand" as what is it like to work there. If "employment brand" is what is it like to work there or "employment brand" means corporate culture then there are about 29 different "employment brands" within that one company complicated by "beauty being in the eye of the beholder" ie;silk pants vs jeans as mentioned above.
Rather than try to bullshit some candidate with some high sounding trendy bullshit about an "employment brand", i would just have to say,"Well, it depends on which location and which department you work in, people are different in each department and of course if the president leaves or the department head leaves it will change. Oh and you can bet your best buzzword and throw in a consultant or two, if they move the corporate headquarters to China there will be a major work environment/culture/ (gag) “employment brand” change.
A brand has to be something that stays the same unless the company is sold, the name goes away or some marketing guru decides that the brand is so bad it has to be rebranded by calling it Co. A instead of Co. B. When that happens the "employment brand" would change right along with the name change. Just like what happens to the hat brand if that horse bucks. The brand is altered and nobody knows from whence it came. Companies, and horses have reputations and brands. There is no such thing as a “personal brand” while we are at it. You have a name and a reputation both can change in a heartbeat as well as be as subjective as the last garlic you ate. So stop that silly stuff while we’re at it.
So all that being said, Jerry's right, it's bullshit and "THEM IS MATERS"