I was listening to the radio on the way home the other night, and there was a lively discussion (this is all relative as it was public radio, so lively simply means both parties were conscious) about how we as a country would manage to compete with the rest of the world.
The response from the expert of the moment was that we had to educate and train a better quality of worker. I found this to be quite disturbing as the subtext implies that the purpose of the nation’s population is to be grist for the corporate mill. Now, before everyone starts sending me applications for the Socialist Workers’ Party (it’s a waste of time anyway – they won’t have me due to my intractable opposition to regulating the manufacture of mannequins), let me state that I understand that there is a very practical component embedded in the expert’s statement – one that addresses our ability to enjoy a certain quality of life.
What I take issue with is the wholesale categorization of, and more common reference to, our citizenry as workers. It’s the kind of labeling that depersonalizes and leads to demoralization as captains of industry see employees less and less as individuals, neighbors, and community members, and more and more as production components. It is, in essence, a category brand that needs to be repositioned.
On a practical level it is the kind of viewpoint that undermines the importance and necessity of the employer brand. Think about it. If the goal of the organization is simply to attract workers, rather than multi-dimensional individuals with an array of attributes, then why put effort into understanding the drivers and aspirations of a given candidate or set of candidates?
Ultimately, a successful employer brand needs to be understood from the personal level in order to have any relevance or emotional context. So in your efforts to brand your organization as an employer, shy away from broad categorizations and seek to understand the full dimension of the individual you are trying to attract. That individual is so much more than a worker.