Episode 2 : It’s not that simple
People come in all shapes and sizes and we’re talking about convictions, purpose, meaning …
It’s a very personal matter, which makes it hard for startups to compete, since there’s an element of matching which significantly reduces the amount of talent you can target.
Your culture, if it’s worth anything, and wants to have a chance to attract anyone, has to be compelling, and trustworthy.
So you have to choose ! What are you offering people ?
A mission ? More money ? A growing environment ? Flexibility and work life balance ? something else ?
Some will try to fake it until they make it… resulting in grotesque scandals and corporate rollercoasters.
Most will try to promise more than they can deliver, and some outliers will underpromise and overdeliver, generating viral loops of talent, quitting the bad guys to join the good ones. Those are the ones who aren’t trying to hide what their real drivers are and what they believe :
Company success is a direct consequence of employee success and the leader’s main role is to attract, grow and retain talent. All in all, being “people first”.
People led growth :)
We’re fans of Athletes at Teampact.ventures, so we like a good Sport parallel, here are two of them :
The difficult balance between enjoyment well being and performance
It’s a thin line, when training to align your health and performance.
You can try to take shortcuts and train too hard or find ways to enhance your performance. But shortcuts don’t work over time.
Only some people have what it takes to compete in the Olympics, and even few can compete in several Olympics : the ones who make it to the highest level with enough left in them to stay there for years.
Finding the right balance between hard work and recovery, short term and long term objectives, winning fast and winning multiple times.
It’s a tough challenge, especially in these times of immediate everything.
But it also feels quite good (to me at least) that money can’t buy everything and when it comes to humans being human, failing multiple times, caring for teammates, having good reasons to fight (not just money or fame) and going all the way remains the only way to sustainable success.
A New Employer Brands Hierarchy & Categorization
With the evolution of how to attract talent, I believe we will see a more fragmented categorization of people and employers. It is a direct consequence of being more transparent and intentional, as mentioned above.
Being clear about what you are offering leads to creating smaller categories, companies being a kind of community of like minded individuals :
- The very ambitious vs the more conservatives:
Are you looking to win the Olympics / lead your industry, or are you competing at a local level / are you happy to remain a small company ?
- What’s your priority : growth and market share or margins and profitability ?
- The local employers vs the real global teams, The climate defenders, The social activists, The places to grow and learn, The “We only care about money”, etc.
These elements will become part of the employers brand and will create an easier to read environment for employees who are looking for their perfect match
Questions for the future
A lot of this has to do with external factors (like Covid, #metoo, #blacklivesmatter) because they act as that “heads up event” that triggers changes.
It is obviously hard to predict what the next one will be.
An economic downturn is probable, and the effects of a bear market on this trend will probably be significant.
People tend to focus downwards in the hierarchy of needs when the context creates doubts about financial security.
But some powerful forces are at play :
What will people choose in times of uncertainty ?
Is “looking to align personal convictions with your job” only a thing in times of economic prosperity ? or is it a deep rooted driver, like the younger generations seem to affirm ?
I believe that in richer countries the trend will remain, because some of the causes we have mentioned have become core elements of how people see themselves (climate activism being probably the strongest one), but it will be fascinating to watch and see.
Another thing I wonder a lot about is the evolution of transparency, “fact checking” and tools that will support this evolution of employer branding.
- Glassdoor has been around for a while, and is far from being perfect. Smart people know it and use its rating as a general indicator but don’t trust it for real
- Labels, such as Bcorp or GreatPlaceToWork are at different stages, Bcorp being probably the most trusted, but we’re already seeing how these models lose trust over time, often because they focus on who we measure vs what results we see, and also their economic model can force them to open wider doors to let more money in …
I wouldn’t be surprised if some community based models were created, where members are forced to always play their role in order to stay an active and trusted member and be visible to future employees. Maybe DAOs will play a role in this ?
The last and biggest question would be timing and velocity. Will this trend end up being temporary and come to a brutal stop at the next economic crisis ? Will it be a slow steady wave progressively blending into our ways of seeing things, or will it be a tsunami creating overnight winners and losers, and collateral damages and drama ?
Time will tell :)
At Teampact we’re betting on people first, what about you ?