Not too long ago, I found myself in the restroom at one of the best companies to work for in America. When I went to wipe myself, the toilet paper disintegrated on my skin.
It’s one of the greatest places to work in America, and they give their employees one-ply toilet paper. I still can’t get my mind around that. But what am I going to do? Complain to HR? Not every problem is mine to solve.
It’s not like those jokers in HR seemed concerned about the bathrooms during a morning session on employer branding, either. In fact, they were moaning about “the lack of spend” on external branding initiatives.
Only a hero would have said, “Hold up. You know what would help your recruiting efforts? Higher quality TP.”
(I’m no hero.)
Employer branding feels a little like Scientology to me, right now. It was trendy a few years ago when the economy started to improve. Companies had the cash to spend. But now my friends, who should be doing better things with their time, have found themselves helping HR departments “go clear” by conducting “employer brand audits.”
I mean, really, it’s all very harmless except I can’t use the bathroom at a world-class company without digging into my handbag to find a better substitute for chintzy toilet paper.
I don’t dispute that companies need to invest in smart recruitment strategies. That makes sense. But at some point, your best and most fabulous employee will ask you, “Where were you when it seemed okay to spend $25,000 a month to license HR technology while shortchanging our facilities group? What drunk monkey authorized social media management software instead of TP?”
Hyperbole? Maybe. I dunno. I feel like that conversation is on the horizon.
An improving economy—combined with an aging workforce and a general war for talent—means that a reckoning is coming. As a human resources leader, you will be held accountable for your budget recommendations and choices. You should prepare yourself for the moment when someone of substance asks you, “Where were your critical thinking skills? Do you jump on every goddamn HR trend you see just because it’s social?”
(Go ahead and defend Meerkat at that moment. I dare you.)
So if you work in recruiting or HR—and you want to use expensive social systems to share a message about your company that’s probably not even true—you better have an answer as to why employer branding is more important than an employer’s responsibility to take care of its existing employees.
You say it’s not an either/or scenario. I say that Glassdoor, LinkedIn and social media management systems that bolt on to your existing talent acquisition tools are great, but you might want to invest in better toilet paper, first.