When companies make the commitment to walk down the employer brand development path, they typically hope for resulting positioning that works for all – every job category, every level of the organizational chart, every division, every geography, every minority and majority group, every generation, every life stage … (by now, perhaps you get that I really do mean everyone).
But is this possible? Or, a better question might be, is this desirable? (Actually, an even better question would be why is anyone still paying attention to Madonna, who is to pop music what the Paleozoic era is to geology – old.)
Let’s take generations for example. Under some of the current thinking, each generation has its own dominant drivers. In the book, “Generations at Work,” by Ron Zemke, Claire Raines and Bob Filipczak, the authors state that the Veterans (Matures) like to be respected and have a very dedicated work ethic, the [Baby] Boomers want personal gratification, the Generation Xers want independence, and the Nexters (Millenials, Y) really like a team-oriented workplace.
Well then, apparently in order to have overarching positioning that works for every generation, all an employer needs to provide is a team environment that offers independence, respect, and gratification, thank-you-very-much-our-work-is-done-here. But what if there’s too much independence? Will that upset the Gen Y employees? If the matures are getting too much respect, will that prevent the Boomers from attaining gratification?
Tip O’Neill coined the axiom that “all politics is local.” Well let me offer up a saying of my own. “All generalizations are goofy.” (But wait, isn’t that statement a generalization?)
While it’s important to understand group dynamics, or the sociology of work, it’s even more important to go to market based on individual drivers, or the psychology of selection. The secret of positioning is not about finding the common denominator. It’s really about communicating the employment experience on a personal level. (Oh great, now it’s not a secret anymore.)
So, understand the group, but market to the individual.