Here it is December 22 and all of the office parties and gift exchanges are coming to a close. Some of these get-togethers are organized under the banner of the holiday season while others simply commemorate the end of the year (and then there are those wacky winter solstice office parties noted for raging bonfires fed with discarded cubicles).
Some of these events are rather formal, complete with a recap of how well an organization did in the past year (“Sure, we may have misplaced the accounting department for three months, but once we found them, we had a great year! Good thing we made enough to outfit everyone with a personal GPS device.”), while others are very relaxed and center on discussing why every decision your boss makes is wrong.
What all of these have in common, is proof of a basic underlying human need – a need to connect and belong. Anthropologists might argue that this is a subconscious, primal need, driven by a legacy of survival through tribalism. (The rest of us might argue that anthropologists spend way too much time in the jungle as it is, therefore who needs to listen to someone who’s primary hobby is grooming spider monkeys.)
And now for what will seemingly appear to be an unrelated digression that will cleverly circle around to make a point germane to this blog’s primary focus.
I never gave a lot of credence to Gallup’s Q12 survey. I didn’t question the robust database – I just didn’t feel that the limited scope of inquiry had much relevance when it came to examining an organization’s employer brand. Well, I’m rethinking that to an extent. One of the criteria that Gallup explores is an employee’s sense of connection. Gallup gets to this by asking respondents to consider the question, “Do you have a best friend at work?”
Every organization has a social structure. Some are tight-knit and tribal, others are social, assuming a community structure, and still others are familial in nature. Uprooting from one social system to another requires a leap of faith, a strong ego, or a belief that one will be easily welcomed and integrated.
So when developing employer brands and attraction strategies, it is important to consider the social attributes that capture your organizational culture, and in the process provide a clear picture to potential employees showing how easily (or not so easily) they are going to fit in. They may not be joining your organization to find a best friend, but knowing that a sense of inclusion comes with the new job may be just what you need to attract the person you want.
Here’s to the video game, Guitar Hero. Finally a game that is fun in the true sense of the word, demonstrates why we will never be rock stars, and refuses to allow us to take out our frustrations by rampaging through the streets, gunning down virtual people.