Every mention of EVP and one of these guys gets it

I’m really looking forward to being in New Zealand for #truNZ on Monday. I’ve been on a bit of a whirlwind tour taking in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney, on top of 30 other destinations this year. It has been wild and informative, and a great way of learning about what is really happening in recruiting globally.

I know we are all connected, but you don’t really learn anything meaningful from the comfort of your own bum stuck on a seat in your house in front of a screen. You have to get out there and live it.
At every event I’ve been to there has been a lot of talk about employer branding, and how to get the best candidates to apply. This concerns me, because the big metric that everyone seems to be applying is that more is better. The more people who apply for a job, the better the chance of accidentally hiring the right person. In most locations I’ve heard people talking about defining the E.V.P. and why recruiting is really like marketing, except that it isn’t.
This pains me, because every time someone says E.V.P. a small puppy dies somewhere. Whilst we talk about authenticity, we also talk more about what people can’t say about work and the company because that would create the wrong impression and people just wouldn’t apply. I’ve heard plenty of people talk about how recruiters need to sell a job, and sell an opportunity, but my view is that if you have to sell it then you’ve got the fit wrong.
Lots of companies talk about wanting to be social organisations. They recognise the potential but fear the consequences, and operate there intranets, internal comms channels and the like as a society of secrets. Those who operate Yammer are the worst offenders. They are creating great culture content and having day-to-day people conversations in secret.

One organisation I spoke to at #ATCSM had a whole series of content on why they were a great company to work for locked down in the intranet. Great for the employees, but what about the outside world who might just want to know too? Best not tell them, they might become interested in knowing what we are all about. Best keep our internal comms internal. Keep it all a secret.

I get the point that there are confidential conversations and information that is internal and is secret. That is probably no more than 10% of what is being posted and discussed. That means 90% of the day-to-day conversations, topics and discussions offer a great insight in to the organisation. The real culture brand content that companies worry so much will take so much time to create is already there, its just hidden. They worry about ┬áthe cost, and the disruption to the employees day. If staff are allowed on Facebook they will just talk to their mates all day. They can’t be trusted. They are too stupid to be know what is secret and what is for public consumption. Best lock everything down behind a closed wall. Stick to the intranet. It is a nonsense argument really. The content is there. learn to share it, and keep sharing constant, rather than a series of one-off events.pictures, video, audio, text, let employees connect and talk in public. let them tell people why they wouldn’t want to work for you, that way you don’t accidentally end up with the wrong employees. You do, after all, end up with the employees you deserve.

All of your culture branding efforts should be about showing the good, the bad and ugly of working in your company. That way fewer people apply. The numbers go down, but the right people apply. The people who stay and survive.

I have a simple belief that every culture is sexy. People are different and unique. You can’t sum up what is important to them in one small set of statements. One EVP, that’s just marketing BS. On this trip I met a girl in Singapore who worked long hours in a company who had a 24 hour canteen. This was great for her because she could get food on the way home. It was convenient, and gave her life and work order. She changed jobs and forgot to ask about the canteen at interview, and on joining discovered that it was closed in the evening. This greatly inconvenienced her, and led to a quick exit. Her “EVP” was a 24 hour canteen. Ever seen that listed anywhere?

On my travels, I have heard 100 stories like this. Each one unique to the person who told them. We should be thinking of messaging about culture brand as being unique. A message to an audience of one, because really we only want one person to apply, the person that fits us, and we fit them. We should be doing all we can to put the rest off, because we are wrong for them. Needs and wants are unique, so our conversations should be unique ones.

What I’m seeing right now is everyone working hard on employer blanding. Companies doing the same thing, telling the same story and merging in to one. copying best practice, shying from innovation and being unique. Time for a change I think. ditch the EVP and all that other stuff, and start thinking about reaching an audience of one.

Bring on the conversation at #truNZ!

Bill