Who are you trying to convince?
Nobody wants to work for an organisation that sucks. Well, unless you’re a vacuum engineer, in which case you don’t want to work for a company that blows.
We all want to work for a “Top Best Company Employer” (names confused to protect the innocent). And that’s lucky, because there are a number of different awards that exist to help us work out where to go, to assist us in our search, point us along the path……
Once a year the good and the great gather together to celebrate their competitive awesomeness and show just how incredibly good and best and top they absolutely are.
Which is nice.
They share it on Twitter, photos of the people that they value enough to take to the ceremony. And they celebrate – back in the workplace – disproportionately with cupcakes (much cheaper than a gala dinner ticket).
But when the metallic balloons have deflated, the cakes have gone stale and the “Celebration” chocolates (did you see what we did there?) have melted. When the PRs have issued their press statements about the CEO’s being “proud” and valuing the importance of “their people” and “their contribution”. When the attention has gone back to the sales figures, the balance sheet and personally benefiting from that contribution.
What then? What does it tell us?
Are we really proud of celebrating that as a company we don’t dump all over our employees? Is that where we’ve sunk to? That we need to have a trophy cabinet of awards in reception that show we aren’t complete and utter ba***rds?
If we are really concerned with being a good employer, why then do we need to share it with the rest of the world? Why can’t we just be one and be happy with it?
Because we want to convince people we’re not awful. Because people think we are. And truth be told, we probably know that we are too….just a little.
That’s why we make it an objective of our HR departments, we incentivise (and punish) line managers to achieve higher and better ratings, we provide incentives to employees just at the time we’re completing the surveys (purely coincidental you understand).
That’s why we systemise “being good”. Not because we believe it’s right, but because we don’t know how to do it any other way. And we shout about it, because WE need to tell you, about US.
Employees, job seekers, candidates are savvy. They don’t get fooled but marketing, by PR, by stunts or by branding. They research, they speak to people, they look at a thousand different points of data, not necessarily the ones that you want them to see.
Like the middle aged guy diving the oversized, oversized, flashy car. Hanging out awards that show how great you think you are begs the question,
Is it because you’re genuinely the real deal and if so, why do you need to tell me? Or, as I suspect, is it because you’re compensating for a lack of “substance”…..you know……somewhere else….