Most people start their employer brand process/project/journey worried that they won’t “get it right.” They are so focused on being “accurate” in describing the company that they end up landing in the dreaded limbo or employer branding: they build an employer bland.
It’s a common situation stemming from shared misguided intentions. The employer brander interviews every part of the company, documenting every team and every office, searching for some concept or set of words that “distills” the brand into 3-5 simple pillars.
That’s why terms like “innovation” and “collaboration” seem to pop up in every company’s EVP, whether they are earned or not. These are easy terms every person wants to use to describe their company, their team and themselves. They get selected because they are safe, broad terms that can apply across the board in equal measure.
It’s akin to walking through an art museum and being asked to describe everything you’ve seen in three words. How can you? Where one piece leaves to feeling isolated and hopeless, another sparks playful joy. For every Guernica, extolling the horrors of war, there is Magritte’s absurd surrealism. For every Freida Kahlo’s depiction of everyday magic, there is Edward Hopper’s definition of alienation.
What three words could you use? You’ll be left thumbing a thesaurus trying to find synonyms for “striking.”
So perhaps the employer branding journey shouldn’t be focused on finding those “magic 3 terms” you can use in every team and microculture. Perhaps the goal is to discover what is truly unique about your company.
Great authors seek to tell the story only they can tell. Great employer branders midwife the story that only their organization can tell.