Here’s a question for you

Read an entertaining piece on Yahoo! the other day about how out-of-date certain terms are in relation to describing the Internet. Most were what you would expect, like Weblog (for blog), World Wide Web for Internet, and “surf” (which was ridiculous the minute it was first said out loud. “Hey, look everyone – I’m surfing the Internet!” No. No you’re not. You’re sitting in a chair. You’re barely even moving. And take off the wet suit.)

I’d make the argument that the same thing has happened with the employer brand. There’s an entire lexicon that has developed around the concept, which is fine as far as giving people a common framework. But I think it also tends to complicate efforts.

Rather than seeking a basic, concise understanding of what’s going on in the workplace, how to communicate it, and how to improve it, we put our efforts into crafting the “employee value proposition.” (Just saying it makes it seem important enough to talk with anyone about it. You know, like the CEO. “Oh, I thought you just wanted to hire and keep employees, but now that I know you want to create an employee value proposition, that’s different. Come on over to my house for a barbecue. How about some stock options?”)

Let me offer up something a little more direct. Something, that in it’s simplicity gives us the focus and objective we really need.

Here’s the scenario.

Two friends are talking.

Sooner or later, one of them is going to ask the question “How’s work?”

Whatever the answer, it’s going to leave an impression. And someone is going to walk away with an idea about an employer, maybe even your company.

These conversations are happening everywhere, every day – through professional networks and on social networks, in back yards and in front offices. And they’re conversations we all need to affect.

And we need to affect them not with academic jargon that raises eyebrows, but with conversation that creates interest, the kind of conversations that people really respond to.

So, how’s work?

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Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

1 Comment

  1. Dave

    I’m not sure the conversational metaphor is great, simply because traditional conversation is … well, dying. What happens when a buddy asks such a question? Odds are good we’ll gloss over it with an insincere "fine" or a curt "same old same old," for any number of cynical reasons: we don’t want to get into it, it’s a lousy economy and we’re stuck one way or the other, we don’t want to yammer at our pal, we don’t think he’s really listening for the answer anyway. The personal sense of work’s role is a lot darker these days than during the Internet Bubble.

    But I get your larger point about an outmoded frame of reference. Sort of like when everybody’s website has a link (usually a bare paragraph) called "Careers at Carl’s Shoe World." It sounded fulfilling the first time someone used it, but now everyone does it and we just roll our eyes.

    Maybe the question is, "Whose job would you rather have?" If only because you have to get off your duff and research who to envy. And if you don’t bother or can’t think of an answer, then you know what you’re doing can pass for fulfillment.

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