Employer Brand Headlines

By James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

⚡ Employer Brand Headlines: The "Blue Jean" Edition (#113)

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⚡ Employer Brand Headlines: The "Blue Jean" Edition (#113)
By James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd • Issue #113 • View online
My mission: move the conversation around employer brand forward.

Employer Brand Headlines, brought to you by James Ellis
Employer Brand Headlines, brought to you by James Ellis
In this issue
  • What is an EVP really?
  • What doesn’t work
  • Closing the culture gap
The big idea
Allow me a cynical moment or seven.
What is an employee value proposition?
The obvious answer is that your EVP is a distillation of what your company offers to employees. It’s the value to themselves a candidate can expect if they join. Every brand is a promise, so your EVP is the promise you make strangers to encourage them to apply and accept a job offer.
Right?
But (as I am being cynical here), let’s look at how much EVPs are created: Interviews, audits, competitive analysis, external and internal data, visions of the future, certainly. Regardless of agency or practitioner, those things are the recipe to an EVP.
But what I’m interested in is the part after that. The part where all that information goes into a hole for a few weeks of… well… its not always clear what happens here, is it? The goal is to come up with something that sets your company apart and helps the candidate understand what you offer. All that info gets boiled down into a few simple ideas that are then wordsmithed to within an inch of their life, polished and buffed until they shine like the top of the Chrystler Building with every syllable vetted like a treaty between warring nations. A million words and phrases are proffered to capture the magical essence of the company only to be rejected: not connecting to the talent audience, too controversial, not authentic enough, not strong enough, not giving leeway for the vagaries of the market, etc.
In the end, you end up with something that has the authenticity of a pre-written politician’s apology. Your job is to describe what this amazing company offers and you end up with something that has the poetry of the warrentee that came with your last pair of sneakers.
Why is that?
We’re watching business undergo a change that equals that of the assembly line or the integration of the internet. Employees aren’t willing to be numbers that get assigned to a box that managers seek only to optimize. They are making different choices about what they want from work and life. They are negotiating for more sabbaticals and what time they can close their laptops. They are walking away from paying jobs because they know they have more to offer and they’ll be doing it on their terms.
The contract between employer and employee is being re-written as we speak.
And here we are, pushing out brand promises that feel like a million compromises (because they are) as if they were written on stone tablets.
Where is the brand that says, “Look, things are weird, but our broadest goal is to invest in you because a better you makes a better us. And the promise we make is that if you don’t feel you’re getting that, you can speak up without fear of reprisal”? Or “We’re in the process of blazing a trail and don’t always know the right answer. But we want to put our trust in you, because you are part of this company. Without you, the company wouldn’t exist. So we promise to do out best and share what we can, and we ask you to see yourself as part of something bigger”?
Doesn’t that sound infinitely more human than… well, any employer brand I can come up with (including a lot of the ones I wrote)?
The world is changing. What we understand an EVP to be needs to change, too.
Headlines!
EVP is Dead! Long Live EVP!
DE&I isn't an Employer Brand Strategy, nor is it a Pillar of your EVP
Pizza Hut Aims to Hire 40,000 People in 3 Months, Seems to Think it's Still 1975
Getting Brand Communities Right and How to Build One
Global Employer Brand Trends - 2021
Inside the fortune cookie
There are some kinds of work that you can’t do well without thinking differently from your peers. To be a successful scientist, for example, it’s not enough just to be correct. Your ideas have to be both correct and novel. You can’t publish papers saying things other people already know. You need to say things no one else has realized yet. - Paul Graham
Thanks, everyone!
There are now more than 1,000 links in the link archive. Enjoy!
Reminder: The more people at your org who read my books, the better your job will get! employerbrandbook.com (They’re free!!!)
Finally, if you have a question, just reply to this email and it comes directly to me.
Cheers and thanks!
-James Ellis (LinkedIn | Twitter | Podcast | Articles)
Where the subject line came from:
David Bowie - Blue Jean (Official Video)
David Bowie - Blue Jean (Official Video)
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James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

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