Fade Into You: Maintaining Individual Voices in Employer Branding & Recruitment Marketing
November 18, 2014 by Crystal Miller
Frequently we make the analogy that recruiting is akin to dating, professionally speaking. Of course these days, it’s probably more like online dating; but that's beside the point for the moment. Whatever medium we use to meet, we do - we make a connection, we court, we "propose" (in this case, employment) and the "honeymoon period begins." Think back to when you were first engaged and married, or about your newly married friends for a moment: they have their "happily ever after" story (that pretty much gets told all the time; because it's new and people love happy endings). You know the one, how they met, when they knew they were meant for each other, how amazing life is now they're together... because they've found where they belonged, and yada, yada, yada... There seem to be 2 ways this story gets told:
1. As two individual voices, with their own unique perspectives, tied together through common experience & bond. You hear the quirks, understand what each appreciated about each other, and how they are stronger - can take on more - together.
2. As one merged voice; the individual voices fading into one another so that you can't, as the song references, tell where one voice ends and the other begins. You know this couple: even those who'd otherwise be considered the "romantic-type" quickly tire of the sugar shock resulting from the sap being spouted after the second-story telling... or roughly 5 minutes. Unless you're in a Disney film or mediocre rom-com, the fading away of individuality can backfire. Rather than presenting that "unified front" they were likely aiming for, that storyline can come off as forced, or disingenuous. Even when it's believable, it's just... over-the-top and hard to relate to. Who wants to lose their individual identity? We do the same thing to our employees with recruitment marketing and in our employer branding messaging. And all too often, we're like the latter couple, demanding our employees give up their individual voices to 'fade into' our own ideal of employer-oriented identity. Even with the most iconic of brands, this can result in lackluster response, as it does with this recruitment video from Apple:
People Are More Than Their Jobs Not only do you have to be careful to mind the balance in the focus between employer and employee in your messaging; it is important to demonstrate recognition that people are more than their jobs. In fact, their outside circumstances, interests, and flair can help you in your quest to attract talented individuals to your organization. One group that does this exceedingly well in video is Deloitte Careers, in their "Year One Wisdom" campaign. Take a look at how they highlight Xenia's
interest in photography and blend it with her role as a Human Capital Consultant with their firm:
Or how Lyndsey manages the working need for weeks split between New York and Texas with the demands and interests held in her home life.
You see the interest she holds in family, cooking & socializing balanced against the interest she holds in her job, and what particularly excites her about it:
The reason this is so fantastic is the opportunity to hear about the important work that Deloitte does in the voice of the employees as individuals.. and how they're able to maintain more than just a work identity.
This is particularly important for consulting firms like EY, Deloitte, PwC, McKinsey, KPMG and business juggernauts with a reputation for working employees to the point of burnout. By talking about more than just the job, you add dimension to your workforce, give prospective candidates another point of potential relatability (they could potentially see themselves working for you through a common outside interest shared by one of your employees). It can also show that, as an employer, you recognize some sense of stewardship in the work-life balance of employees. Here’s an example from McKinsey, but this story is told in the company voice. When you compare it to the Deloitte shorts, which company do you think presents a more compelling, relatable story?