It’s about the pretty fiction

Dear reader,

Let’s start with a little story from of the future: on the day of the last judgement, the souls of the deceased will either be sent to heaven or to hell. For some, however, this decision cannot be clearly done and, thus, these souls can decide by themselves where to go to. Well, such a decision needs to be done very carefully and by taking into account all consequences. That’s why these souls are allowed to get an impression how it looks like in both heaven and hell. The view into the heavenly paradise is sobering. Occasionally, souls plagued by boredom are sitting on their clouds, playing harp and singing “hallelujah” at times. In other words: a pure tediousness. By contrast, the hell looks like a great happening: a huge wellness oasis, drinks inclusive, music on request and only cheerful people partying all the time.  The decision is easily done. Almost everyone wants to go to hell leading to queues of applicants. The following day, these souls full of high expectations enter the hell. But now, the scenery looks quite different: poor souls are being maltreated by devils with glowing forceps, dipped in boiling oil and tortured with thumbscrews. The horrified question on the whereabouts of the nice and pleasant atmosphere seen the day before is answered by the master devil: “Yesterday was recruiting, today is reality.”

Many applicants must feel in a similar way, when comparing a company’s glossy brochures and sophisticatedly designed video-clips with the reality at their new employers. Often, of the glorious employer’s brand not much more than an advertising gimmick is left. In lieu of the much praised culture of values, in first place the new employee receives a voluminous welcome-package with internal guidelines, signing regulations, reporting instructions and, on top of all, the collection of internal corporate forms. This all may let the bureaucrat’s heart beat quicker, however it does not fit altogether, if the company initially has presented itself as having transferred the very best and nicest from Silicon Valley to Germany in order to create the earth’s employee paradise.

Outright embarrassing or at best unintentionally odd are often the short movies produced by companies for celebrating its employer brand with music, dancing and singing. What claims to be expressly fresh and youthful but in fact has the flair of a five o’clock tea from the 1950ies, will also create clicks galore at YouTube – however for different reasons than intended. Being authentic and true has simply a better impact than being polished and glossy, even if it comes along a bit more modest.

Who neglects her or his employer brand or presents it implausibly, will hardly succeed in attracting new staff. In parallel, executives and experts have little interest in working for an employer who damages systematically or makes a fool of himself.

Employer branding is thus an important good and represent a considerable value. That’s why we dedicate this magazine to that topic. Enjoy your reading.

Ulrich Goldschmidt