Oscar Wilde, in a play on Karl Marx’s words, remarked that “work is the curse of the drinking classes”. In doing so, Wilde captured the contrast between the workplace as a place of boredom and stress, and the convivial atmosphere of the pub wherein friends gather to socialize and have fun. Yet the nature of work has changed since the 19th century; the modern manager takes a holistic approach to the individual employee, aligning work with the employee’s requirements. The same can be said of the recruiter.
“Man is by nature a social animal” - Aristotle
Managers who apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs enable their employees to reach higher up on the pyramid and are rewarded with happier, more loyal and ultimately more productive employees. Talent acquisition is an extension of this. Candidates are most likely to apply to the companies that promise to look after their interests. Recently, I wrote about the importance of CSR in the Employee Value Proposition (EVP), meeting the highest need of self-actualization. Yet before prospective employees consider their impact on society, they must consider the team-spirit and culture they are buying into to meet the need for socialization. If fun and community are concepts that work well with consumer brands, needless to say they can be effective for the employer brands cultivated by talent acquisition managers.
Fun is serious business
In terms of career websites, blocks of text outlining tasks and required qualifications should be consigned to the scrapheap of recruitment marketing history. As “job descriptions” they fail to vividly describe life at a company or spark the imagination. They focus on the value the business can squeeze from employees, not the value they can offer employees. Candidates want to know: "What's in it for me?". They wonder, "How will I feel?” and “Who will I be working alongside?”. Neatly designed, highly visual career pages convey an atmosphere of professionalism and creativity, providing a more insightful snapshot of life at the company.
Social media has an equally strong role to play in telling employee stories about working in teams or bonding during fun events. While this may often come from the company’s own channels, Employee Generated Content owes its value to its authenticity. Browsing my LinkedIn feed, I’m inundated with posts from LinkedIn employees heaping praise on management and colleagues for the inspiration and support they’ve received. #summerinpwc posts highlight strong morale and camaraderie among PWC interns. My Deloitte connections are all smiles raising money for charity. Increasingly, we're seeing the convergence of the professional and personal brands with Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram and Snapchat content revolving around employment. Perhaps recruitment drives now benefit from the “Fear of Missing Out” phenomenon?
The enhanced employer brand of the aforementioned firms entices active job seekers and passive prospects alike. Both sets of candidates know that wherever they go, they’ll be spending hours with colleagues. The opportunity to work with caring, ambitious and like-minded people is far more appealing. After all, “birds of a feather flock together”. This mantra is especially true at a time when employees are becoming ever more conscious of being part of a community, wellbeing, mental health and work-life balance.