Modern Employer Branding: Beyond Fruit Baskets and Meaningless Buzzwords

Lisa Udet

Changing the world. One mind at a time.

(TLDR) Modern Employer Branding highlights the true nature of employer branding, moving away from fruit baskets and ping pong tables to embracing full diversity and inclusion, offering authentic empathy and introducing flexibility that counts. The essence of modern employer branding understands that each person has something remarkable to contribute and your recruiting and talent processes should reshape the narrative through tips and tricks like toolkits, masterclasses and cultural chronicles.

The workforce has evolved and so has its priorities. At twofold, we’re calling for employer branding that’s revolutionary not just evolutionary. Employer brand experiences that are more than tutti frutti. Experiences with meaning that genuinely resonate.

In today’s corporate jungle, companies are peacocking with promises, material benefits, and all-too-familiar pledges of work-life balance. But it’s 2023, and the game has changed. Modern talent isn’t impressed by slick distractions or a fruit basket. They’re on a quest, seeking answers to pressing questions: What’s the heart and soul of this company? Can I find a real home here?In the digital age where discerning truth is just a click away, talent wields a sharp, intuitive BS-detector. They’re not interested in artificial employer branding. They’re looking for substance. Here’s the essence of modern employer branding, stripped of pretense, and revamped for the here and now.

1. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Remember all those stock photos of multi-multi faces? Showcasing diversity is a thing of the past; truly embracing it is the future. Modern branding surges beyond superficial definitions of diversity. It’s about empowering every individual, regardless of background, condition, or life story. Diversity is woven into our neurology, our lifestyles, our challenges, and our passions.

From the gifted mind of an autistic coder to the unique multitasking abilities of an ADHD project manager, or the creative genius of a dyslexic designer – these are the varied strengths of our modern workforce. It’s about acknowledging the single parent who juggles home and work, or the colleague navigating chronic illness. It’s about ensuring that an activist’s voice is not only heard but also celebrated. And understanding that life changes like menopause influence professional lives, too.

Time to recognize these nuances and create an environment where everyone feels valued. Crafting a diverse community where everyone is treated with equity, included in all spheres, and given a deep sense of belonging. At the end of the day, DEIB isn’t about ticking boxes – it’s about our individual experiences.

2. Authentic Empathy
Our devices know us, arguably better than some of our acquaintances do. And while our digital connectivity is unparalleled, our thirst for genuine human understanding is insatiable. But here’s the catch: authentic empathy isn’t a strategy, it’s a mindset.

In the corporate race, it’s easy to lose sight of the unique and winding roads traveled by many. The traditional signpost – a CV dripping with decades of experience and glittering qualifications – is becoming increasingly outdated. Life is rarely a straight line. It’s a series of unexpected detours, unique challenges, and defining moments. Think of someone with a neurodiverse perspective. While they might not have thrived in rigid one-size-fits-all education, their experiences have given them a unique lens and an ability to think outside the box. Consider the early caregiver whose profound sense of responsibility and compassion can’t be measured by standard KPIs. Or those who pressed pause on their careers to heal, rejuvenate, or immerse in a personal passion project. These aren’t gaps. They’re reservoirs of life experiences, brimming with insights, resilience, and creativity.

Authentic empathy recognizes these unconventional trajectories and values them within your recruiting and talent processes. And understands that each person has something remarkable to contribute.

Faux empathy is easy to spot. People can sense when understanding is just a buzzword embedded in corporate jargon. Be genuine in your efforts to understand, value, and celebrate every individual’s journey.

3. Flexibility that’s Actually Flexible
It’s 2023 and “clock in at 9, clock out at 5” feels as outdated as floppy disks. Today’s workforce, with its blend of characters and neurodiverse talents, doesn't want a traditional workday. And the “burn the midnight oil and neglect your life to prove yourself” philosophy? So last century.

Real flexibility is a two-way street built on DEIB and authentic empathy. It’s about recognizing that sometimes creativity strikes during a morning walk, not in the middle of a scheduled afternoon brainstorming session. It’s realizing that an employee might turn out their best work at dawn or even during the silent embrace of midnight. Flexibility comes in all shapes and sizes. An employee with Asperger’s might find solace and routine in the office environment. Another might need the tranquility of their home space, away from office chatter, to truly shine. Some employees start late, after dropping the kids off at school or an energizing morning run. Others need mid-week pockets of time for themselves that ensures they’re at their peak when they work.

Flexibility is not just about offering “modern” remote work or unconventional hours. It’s a tailored approach, a commitment to seeing individuals for who they are. Understanding their rhythms and facilitating an environment where they can soar both professionally and personally. Flexibility is not just about bending. It’s about adapting, evolving, and co-creating spaces where every individual can navigate effectively and thrive. No pretense. Genuine and fair adaptability.

Fine. But How? Provide Sustenance, not Snacks.
Do you want to attract and foster groundbreaking talent? Then offer sustenance, not just snacks. Ditch the superficial and create a culture that’s unmistakably bold, unapologetically honest, and relentlessly brilliant. Think beyond token gestures and gadgets. Instead of handing out fruit, let’s nurture whole ecosystems of authentic, enduring values.

Here’s how you can step up and reshape the narrative:

  • Career Spotlight:
    Elevate your career page and job descriptions. Go beyond the usual checklist. Shed a light on how you genuinely support each individual’s unique journey.
  • Voices of Authenticity:
    Amplify testimonials that resonate. A neurodiverse talent detailing their unique needs. A parent navigating the kid-flu season. A LGBTQ+ person who feels seen beyond Pride Month.
  • Managerial Masterclasses:
    Highlight your commitment to continual learning. Show that your leadership isn’t just a title. Profile managers equipped, trained, and attuned to understanding the vast offer of individual experiences, needs, and aspirations.
  • Transparent Toolkits:
    Make resources available. Mental health support, flexibility toolkits, initiatives for personal growth. Let talent know they’re stepping into an environment that’s built for holistic growth.
  • Cultural Chronicles:
    Share regular insights, updates, or features that manifest your company’s essence. From office events celebrating diverse festivals to workshops on empathetic communication – document and celebrate the journey.

Remember, in a world of fleeting glitz, enduring brilliance stands out. At twofold, our mantra remains: Be clearly bold in intent, no-nonsense in action, and relentlessly committed to excellence. If this resonates with you, Lisa is just a coffee chat away. Let’s redefine employer branding, together.