As I make my merry way around the recruiters who may be kind enough to peddle my wares to their clients, I am asked, regularly, who I would like to work for? Now, most questions I get asked have a ready (if not, at times overly long) answer, however this question leaves me scratching my head/stroking my chin/looking dopey [depending on the day] as I have very little idea how to go about answering the question.
At an event hosted by Reconverse in November the recruitment website reed.co.uk presented some data from a survey they had conducted. The survey asked amongst other things, which employer would you most like to work for. The survey received over 2000 respondents, who had no problem answering the question and the top 10 are listed below:
6. John Lewis
[Source: Reed.co.uk via @Reconverse, original recording can be found here]
I don’t know a lot about recruitment websites but I would imagine given reed.co.uk’s roots in High Street employment agencies the demographics of the sample would be interesting to understand but that was the Top 10 of their brand index as they termed it.
I must admit when I first heard the list there were some that were no surprise i.e. Apple & Google. These companies have managed to create a sense in the market that working for them would be more like a spiritual experience than a job and good luck to them. John Lewis being included was a dead cert both for their partnership model but also because of favourable TV coverage this year about working there.
Some, however, took me a little more by surprise…. Yes, the NHS (in fact if you listen to the transcript of the session someone loudly exclaims “why?” after they are announced) and I must confess I was a little bemused at their inclusion but the NHS brings an interesting point as like Virgin that’s a catch-all for numerous different organisations – the NHS does not have one amorphous culture, leadership style, operating model etc likewise I’m sure that working at Virgin Cosmetics in Chichester is very different to working for Virgin Atlantic all of which lead me to a thought:
Do people want to work for the companies (or brands) they admire as consumers?
Coca-Cola, Virgin, Apple, Google, John Lewis and possibly the BBC are all well-respected consumer brands that I would imagine score very highly in their consumer brand relationships so are people answering the question based on their affection for their iPhone, the dreams of Virgin Upper or the simplicity of the Google search page?
Part of the reason I think I struggle with answering the question is that what I do/have done in organisations is often very little to do with consumer perception. The information that would make me able to answer the question is very often NOT in the public domain. Which brand wants to admit it has a deficiency in its leadership? Which brand wants to talk about a need to refocus its culture? Which brand wants to admit it has an inadequate succession plan?
The companies that interest me (and let’s face it are interested in me) are those that are at transformational stages of their life, have identified change agendas and the will (for that read resources) to want to do something about that in the people arena. Whether I love my iPhone has got very little to do with any of that but saying that I have been fortunate enough to experience Virgin Upper Class and any job that involves that on a regular basis – I’m in!
So, another question unanswered but if you have any views you’d like to share I’d be really interested to hear them as this was just my gut reaction to hearing the list and I may be very very wrong (but would be loath to admit it!)