Joey Quits - Why companies need to understand today's employer brand reality

http://youtu.be/9A4UGtM4hDQ A few weeks ago Joey quit his job. Nothing unusual so far, I’m sure lots of other people did as well, however I bet that Joey was the only one who took a marching band in with him to accompany him handing his notice to his boss! Predictably the YouTube video of said event has already racked up nearly 3 million views and Joey has been hailed as a champion of the recession.

Perhaps the most interesting thing though were the very specific reasons Joey gives on the video for leaving which are certainly unambiguous in terms of sentiment . He clearly mentions his employer and says "they treat us like shit here". Although this is an extreme example,  the whole episode shows how stories about employers now spread and  how easily reputations can be damaged. Not everyone resigns on  YouTube with their own band but every growing Facebook networks mean many people's resignations are similar if slightly less spectacular "social objects"

So what was Joey’s employer doing to defend themselves against this kind of reputational damage? In a word nothing. Whatever they have done since, at the time the video went viral they were nowhere in social media or on YouTube. A visit to their corporate recruitment website reveals some stock photography and general corporate jargon about what a great employer they are. The key issue is that there is no proof. There are no videos of their employees, no authentic stories, nothing at all that could possible counter balance Joey’s video

The sad thing is having spent a great deal of time auditing corporate recruitment websites this year I can tell you this is a situation that is common to the vast majority of large employers. Very often modernizing the corporate website or embracing social media is seen as unimportant or too difficult or something for which resources are not available.

I’m sure this hotel will probably have some local recruiting difficulties that may or may not be reflected internationally. All of this will cost time and resource to fix and that time and resource will be significantly more than it would have taken to make sure their employment communications were doing what they should be doing. More than anything this shows that social media isn’t something companies can opt in or out of and the risk of ignoring how the very notion of an employer brand is changing is enormous.