What does employer branding have to do with meditation? First of all, I have to be so fair and admit that even a few months ago I didn’t realize that employer branding had become an established term in the HR world. Hence a short definition from THE favourite source Wikipedia:
Employer brand describes an employer’s reputation as a place to work, and their employee value proposition, as opposed to the more general corporate brand reputation and value proposition to customers. The term was first used in the early 1990s, and has since become widely adopted by the global management community. Minchington describes employer brand as “the image of your organization as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders). The art and science of employer branding is therefore concerned with the attraction, engagement and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing your company’s employer brand.”
The idea for the connection between meditation and “employer branding” came to me when I heard about a young woman who had quit her studies of economics, started studying philosophy and wondered what was going on with the world on the large scale. Such careers seems to be very common in recent times judging by our experience with our clients. Of course, “like” attracts “like”, but I see a clear trend here. I hear from my former colleagues at the management consultancy and also from the banks that it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract “suitable candidates”. A friend who works in a renowned law firm also confirmed this fact for the legal sector. Therefore “employer branding” is not only something for the mid-sized companies unfamiliar to university students or a company that manufactures toilets. The employer marketing has already reached the big brands and corporations. The bemoaned “shortage of skilled workers” certainly contributes to this. But the true reasons are different in my opinion. Through my own circle of friends and acquaintances, but also through the many conversations with our customers, I notice again and again that times have changed. Today’s graduates know exactly what is going on in the consulting, banking and other formerly attractive sectors. Information flows unhindered in today’s society thanks to social media and the Internet. So it should come as no surprise that young people are well aware of where and what working conditions prevail. It is easy to read on the Internet what the mood is among the employees and in the team, what the conditions are regarding compensation and working hours. This has drastically changed the game in the last few years.
The argumentation of some articles and columns goes then in the direction of the generation pigeonholes. There are complaints about the generation Y and Z or advice for “dealing” with these “human resources”. My experience shows that the “virus” of meaningfulness has also reached generation X, to which I also belong myself. This generation was still the one that had provided reliable work bees, who threw themselves into their careers for titles, money and ego until they lost themselves completely. These people, too, are increasingly rethinking their lives unless they see themselves beyond the “point of no return” through family, mortgages and “life circumstances” .
So what do people want? Does nobody want to work anymore? Does everyone only want unconditional income? Even if this idea resonates or polarizes strongly with one or the other, I am of the opinion that it would concern only a very small part. Only a few can really do “nothing” at all. A human being wants to be creative, as we all have creator nature inside of our selves. To be creative lies deep in our being. Many want to get involved, want to create something and also contribute something to society. But the “what” and “how” has changed a lot.
Due to our social prosperity and the interpersonal dynamics in this ever accelerating world, people seem to be looking for “meaning” more than ever. The first thing they seem to consider in this process is their work. This seems consistent in the sense that we usually spend most of our “waking time” at and with work and that this obviously secures our survival. The meaningfulness of our daily activities comes to the foreground with many people in the higher qualified professions. Rarely one finds fulfilment in the processing of documents or the creation of power points and reports. The people who we encounter mostly want to make a contribution that is valued and somehow comprehensibly makes the world a better place or at least does not make it worse.
Employer branding often shows how “cool” it is to work in a company and if it is well done, there is often a hint in the direction of the meaningfulness of the work and the appreciation of the employees. Not surprisingly, it only seems really work with real substance behind it. Let’s recall that you can read everything on the net about what it really looks like behind the luminous employer branding billboards.
Slowly we are getting closer to the thing with meditation, because a company whose management has understood the added value of mindfulness (and in best case meditation) in connection with daily work activities, sends a very clear signal to young graduates and much desired “talents”. As always, Silicon Valley is leading the way. There are internal departments at Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. that exclusively deal with the personal development of their “human resources”. Meditation rooms are abundantly available and the daily retreat into oneself in a productive working day belongs to normality.
More young people than ever are engaged in yoga, meditation and other directions of spiritual growth in their free time. A company which not only advertises such an offer to its employees, but also where the executive floor exemplifies it and makes it public, is “coincidentally” very popular with young people. Many leading personalities in the USA attribute their professional success largely to meditative practice and thus to incomparable spiritual growth. Empathy, intuition and mindfulness of the management team are therefore derived from this circumstance by the (potential) employees. Often the conclusion is “here I am seen as a person” and “my contribution makes a difference”.
Remarkably, companies with mindfulness programs display lower fluctuation rates (buzzword: “talent retention”) and higher innovation density from within their own ranks. This closes the loop for “Meditation 4 Employer Branding”. In my opinion, mindfulness and the possibility of meditation in everyday working life belongs in the portfolio of every leading company if it wants to remain in this leading position going forward. Here, of course, there is also the opportunity for those who are in the second or third row today, but who could already be ahead tomorrow. We often hear about Generation X, Y and Z – “I would rather work part-time than buy more stuff”. If the HR departments draw the right conclusions from this, they can develop the desired talents within their day-to-day work and get them excited about their daily tasks by shaping their daily work with mindfulness, empathy and creativity. Thanks to the coming wave of digitization and automation, this will be applicable in many areas. The most important milestone, however, is mutual interaction with empathy for each other. This is a clearly “top-down” process and shapes sustainable corporate culture only in case the mindfulness initiatives are promoted through “leading by example” by top management.
Our approach of #workasmeditation goes exactly in this direction. With #Meditation4Business we offer companies an approach to open up management-mindset for these topics and to develop the corporate culture in a sustainable way – from the inside out. In the beginning the transformation will demand strength, courage and work on oneself from the executives and the organization. Once the transformation is underway, the Internet will also be there and the news on the sustainable transformation will flow quickly to generations X, Y and Z. Here comes then the ROI in terms of marketing-savings. If the proclaimed “inner values” are truly lived, this becomes just as transparent in our internet age, as hollow marketing slogans and pretended corporate values, which often serve as mere decoration for office spaces.
As always, authenticity is the key to success.
We are happy to support your “employer branding” with our approach towards a sustainable evolution of corporate culture and mindfulness embracing and developing empathy, intuition and creativity through Meditation4Business.