"We are fun". Charlotte Marshall explains why employer branding needs to move on from culture cliches.

Picture for category "We are fun". Charlotte Marshall explains why employer branding needs to move on from culture cliches.

How do you define culture in your business? And -most importantly- how do you describe it when it comes to recruiting people? Do you go for cliches like “we are fun” or “we work in a fast-pace environment" or do you opt for a more detailed description to let  people know precisely what they should expect when working with you? Fellow Sherpa and Employer Brand Leader Charlotte Marshall recently penned an article explaining why it is important for both the business and the employees to have a clear picture of what “culture” means and what it entails. 

 ‘Integrity’. ‘Honesty’. ‘Fun’. The line between aspiration and meaninglessness has become blurred in employer branding. To attract top talent, organizations are increasingly looking to simply say the right thing. In doing so, the realities of the workplace are ignored. 

Capturing and conveying an accurate picture of yourself as an employer is a scary prospect, but one with incredible upsides. 

In most employer brands, culture is presented as a benefit and celebrated as something people are lucky to be part of. The truth however, is that every company has a culture, and it’s more a question of whether a potential employee is a good match for it. 

It’s not good enough to simply claim ‘we have a great culture!’ Quite frankly, your own opinion of good or bad is irrelevant; it’s for the employees and candidates to decide for themselves. Our job is to equip them with all the necessary information to make an informed decision. 

A typical means of articulating culture is talking about the values of an organization. Obviously, the shared values of an organization drive the behaviors you find within it, so it’s a logical place to start. However, values alone are not enough to accurately set expectations of how it might feel to work in your company, because values are open to interpretation, often intangible, and always positive. 

Have you ever seen a company that publishes values such as lazy, arrogant, or combative? If you do please email me because I would love to see it. We forever find ourselves in the land of integrity, honesty and fun. But what does ‘fun’ really mean? If you think about it, it’s as good as useless when trying to articulate an employee experience because your idea of fun might be completely different to mine. We should instead seek to better describe the experience of working within your four walls, for the good of both our candidates and ourselves.

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