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Employer Brand Headlines: The "True Faith" Edition (#86)

Employer Brand Headlines: The "True Faith" Edition (#86)
My mission: Help you understand your employer brand better and make it work for you.

In this issue
  • The Goldman Sachs non-scandal
  • Path to yes
  • Working agreements
  • Hearts and minds
The big idea
Last week, we were all shocked (shocked!) to discover that first-year analysts at Goldman Sachs were being worked insane hours! 90 and 100-hour work weeks! Didn’t have time to shower! Losing sleep! Lack of personal relationships!
At that moment, I called it (and you can check my Twitter to confirm): Some people are going to say, “Oh no! What horrible news for GS’s employer brand!”
Except that’s not even remotely the case. Let’s break it down:
1: Every single person who applies to GD knows that they are going to be worked grueling hours. It is NOT a secret. It is NOT a surprise. Hell, it’s damn near on their career site (the VERY first line on their site includes the term “hard work”).
2: Certain people made the choice to work at GS, not because of their amazing work/life balance, but because working there is a ticket to wealth. You are giving up your 20’s to become a millionaire in your thirties.
3: How is this unusual? Ask any first-year lawyer in a firm or anyone who is serious about their startup, 100 hour work weeks is the norm. Sleeping is optional.
This news doesn’t go against the employer brand, it proves the employer brand. The more proof that working at GS means sacrifice and a slavish devotion to growing profit, the more validation that people work there because it’s a lottery ticket that pays out.
Put simply, your employer brand isn’t here to appeal to everyone. In fact, done right, it will only appeal to SOME people. For every person appalled by those working conditions, is someone who would love (love!) to give up years of their lives to be able to retire well at 40.
Your employer brand is a Rorschach test: how people respond to it says more about the reader/viewer than the brand message (intentional or otherwise) being seen. If you hate the idea of 23-year-olds working this hard, it’s because that brand promise isn’t for you.
I’ll say it again: it isn’t for you.
What you offer only some people will want. What the post office offers (stability, security, steadiness) I don’t want. Does that make it a bad brand? No. It would be bad if they tried to sell me on a fast pace, innovation, and autonomy. It’s bad if it isn’t real, if it’s disingenuous or if it trying to say something it thinks I want that it can’t deliver. That’s a bad brand. A brand that’s honest and clear, that offers proof points and validation is a good brand, just not one I want to buy.
This is why I hate the “we’re a ‘best place to work’” awards/claims made by almost every company. First, from a pure law of statistics, you can’t all be the best place to work any more than everyone is a better-than-average driver. Second, for whom(?!?!?!) are you a great place to work? For team players AND lone wolves? For slow-and-steady types AND run-and-gun types?
Your employer brand is the line you draw in the sand clearly demarking the difference between the people you are for, and the people you are not for.
And when you are CLEAR where that line is, I (and every other candidate) get to CHOOSE what side of it I want to be on.
Headlines!
Creating a “path to yes” to spur innovation
All You Need To Know About Brand Image
Help Candidates Self-Select With a Unique Company Mission
Branding’s Perfect 10 – The Hearts and Minds
The Diversity and Inclusion Industry Has Lost Its Way
Stop new customers from pushing away existing ones
Offboarding is the Last Impression of Your Employer Brand
How to Effectively Position a Parent Employer Brand and Sub-Brands
Quick hits
Tip of the week
Feed the beast: Do you have a way to share new posts and information with all your brand advocates, cheerleaders, and champions? Maybe it’s a Slack channel, maybe its goofy little newsletter run out of your inbox? You need a way to semi-automate the way you tell people about what you’ve done so that they can share it to their networks as well.
Inside the fortune cookie
“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” - Dolly Parton. 
One last thing
I’m going to be facilitating a section of The Talent Brand Summit in April. I’m not doing a lot of speaking this year, and I’m really excited to hear from people like Kerry Noone, Lisa Smith-Strother, and Michael Mager. If you want a big discount on your ticket, use the code “imwithjames.”
Thanks, everyone!
We just published our 700th (!) link from the newsletter in our link archive.
And as always, when you reply to this email I will read your questions and comments. Is there any article I should be commenting on? A book? A podcast? Is there something you what to know? How can I help? 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:
New Order - True Faith (1987) (Official Music Video) [HD REMASTERED]
New Order - True Faith (1987) (Official Music Video) [HD REMASTERED]
Did you enjoy this issue?
James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

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