Does Employer Brand Have a Seat at the Table? Or Would We Rather Eat at the Bar?

For as long as I can remember, Employer Brand professionals have aspired to, “getting our seat at the table.” Which is shorthand for joining leadership at their conference table of choice so that our points of view can be heard and acted upon. 

Often, the discussion takes a fatalistic tone, like disgruntled sports fans saying, “wait ‘til next year” after yet another disappointing season. We say it, but–deep down–we don’t really expect it to happen.

Lately, though, peers have been talking about how Our Time Has Come. Due to the pandemic, and several false starts at returning to offices, followed by the Great Resignation, employers are suddenly throwing money at employer branding. Jobs for employer branding managers or directors are seemingly everywhere. Budgets are hitting unheard-of levels. Even media such as TV and billboards are making comebacks as recruiting tools. Surely, now we finally have our coveted seat at the apocryphal table.

Or do we?

I have a friend who was recently managing a large employer branding campaign. Her team had done extensive research, analyzed the results, and had a strategy and brandline approved by the C-Suite.

Then Marketing stepped in. 

A cynic would say that the prospect of Employer Brand spending serious money on recruitment marketing raised alarm bells in Marketing. Suddenly, there is a bucket of money sitting on the legendary table and… well, we all know how sharp elbows can get when it comes to fighting for budget in corporate America. 

Most of you know how this tale ends. Marketing says, “Thanks so much! Great work! We’ll take it from here.” Then they proceed to change it. And not necessarily improve it. 

Which prompted my friend to ask, “Do we really have a ‘seat at the table’? Will we ever get a seat at the table?” I had no answer.

So, I turn to you, the Employer Brand community. In the spirit of vox populi, vox dei*, I ask you: does Employer Brand finally have its seat? Are we on the waiting list? Or are we being asked if we’d rather eat at the bar? Take our brief poll and let us know what you think:

  1. YES – Employer Brand has its seat at the table. Recent events have proven our value, so leadership solicits and respects our insights.

  2. TEMPORARILY – Employer Brand is in the spotlight because recruiting and retaining talent is really difficult. Once labor markets stabilize, they will shut us out again.

  3. MAYBE – Employer Brand has a provisional seat at the table. If we deliver engaged employees, we get to stay.

  4. NO – Security at the door cannot find our name on the list. We don’t have a place, and probably never will.

We’ll keep the poll open for a week and publish the results then. Stay tuned! 

*Loosely translated as “The voice of the people is the voice of the gods.” And I really do believe you’re all divine.

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