Company Culture and Employer Branding

The concepts of “company culture” and “employer branding are all the rage today. This is a curious feature of the fluid economy where workers are more fluid than employers and it’s the employer’s task to create some rootedness. There are careers being made in teaching employers how to self-brand in an appealing way to retain workers. There are TED talks, conferences, workshops, and companies that specialize in company culture. It’s absolutely fascinating.


4 thoughts on “Company Culture and Employer Branding”

  1. This is standard management nonsense cribbing from Maslow’s pyramid of human needs.

    All the “employer branding” and “company culture” doesn’t mean much unless compensation is fair and this is just more reshuffling so they can avoid giving their workers an actual raise.

    Look, I once worked for an employer with a great local reputation and stellar “employer branding.” They were stingy with compensation. The fact they were stingy with raises and compensation counted for far more in my eyes than the fact they offered tuition reimbursement, EAP, employee training, and a match on 401(k)s.


    1. What’s interesting is that the employee flight they are trying to stem doesn’t seem motivated by the employees looking for better salaries. If it were so, the problem would be easy to solve.

      An example close to home. I make exactly half of what a colleague in the same position in the same field makes at another school (in an area where cost of living is comparable to where I live.) And I’d never go work at his school. It’s a shithole, they are squeezed dry. And here I get enormous autonomy, great freedom, tons of time to just veg.

      And I’m in a profession where it’s an employer’s market all the way.


      1. What’s interesting is that the employee flight they are trying to stem doesn’t seem motivated by the employees looking for better salaries. If it were so, the problem would be easy to solve.

        Maybe I don’t read enough business management articles, but I haven’t seen CEOs explicitly saying, “We tried offering more money and benefits and our turnover hasn’t improved.”

        Of course, people don’t leave or look for other jobs just based on money. The profession you’re in has enormous mental benefits that most professions simply don’t have. And I take it both salaries are comfortable, yes?

        There is an oft-quoted statistic that an increase in money doesn’t matter for personal happiness over $70,000 a year.

        Most people don’t make that nearly much money in their own job or as a household and most jobs simply aren’t that intrinsically rewarding.

        I’m just mentally accepting that I have to take classes and learn new things outside of work in order not to go out of my mind with boredom. That company I worked for — by the time I had been there for two years, I was bored with the actual job. I stopped by the chain bookstore on my way home several times a week not just because I needed a buffer but also because I needed new information.

        You talk about autonomy and freedom — most people get nothing like that in their jobs to ignore something like the bottom of the Maslow pyramid with their jobs.

        Half of the reason I was mad about compensation was it just underlined the lack of respect and value.


        1. Oh, this is why we are not in agreement. Of course, these people that companies are competing over are in a higher income bracket. The fluid are a small, privileged minority. I’m only talking about them. The rest are totally screwed, I agree.

          My salary is $56K. But I do have a husband who makes over twice that, so I can’t complain. But my very close friend at my school makes $42 and has to maintain two kids and a stay-at-home husband who’s in school on that money. And it’s ridiculous. Of course, they are lucky in that they are very, religious and have a great support network. But still! They can’t afford to think about the frills of how cute the office space is and how much freedom she has designing her own syllabi.


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