“No small talk.” Has this company taken Employer Branding too far?

 In AU News, Employer Branding

No Tupperware. Company-approved toilet paper only. Black Moleskin diaries to be used – exclusively.

Australian skin care brand Aēsop has some very interesting rules governing how employees go about their day. They’ve developed a unique and powerful employer brand that is unrivalled by other players in their industry.

But have they gone too far with their employer brand, or is it a genius way to attract the right people to their organisation?

Let’s take a tour around the world of Aēsop. Read on to find out what it’s like to be an employee at Aēsop’s head office – and why Aēsop might just be getting it right.  

Firstly, no small talk about the weather – this is banned. Desks must be clean with jackets hung on a single coat-rack at one end of the building. Personal items must not be visible on desks and all employees are to write only in black Moleskin diaries provided by Aēsop. Post it notes must be hidden from view, placed within the Moleskin diaries.

Phones are to be kept on silent to ensure everyone can stay focused. When writing emails, remember your ‘email sandwich’. All emails must adhere to a strict template: opening and closing with a pleasantry, with business affairs in between.

When it comes to lunchtime, it’s company policy that you leave your desk, even just for 10 minutes. Staff must relocate to the office kitchen or one of the local cafes. And make sure your lunch is eaten only from Aēsop-approved plates and bowls. Your latté is not safe either – coffees are to be poured in Aēsop-approved cups.

But there are some fantastic upsides to working at Aēsop, with a healthy stock of fresh fruit, dark chocolate, restaurant-quality coffee and nuts ready to give you that boost of energy in the afternoon. 

What does this all mean for Aēsop’s employer brand?

Employer branding is about an organisation positioning itself as an employer of choice. Yet, a strong employer brand works to actively attract candidates who will be a good cultural fit, and deter those who will not.

Aēsop’s extreme guidelines will put off some job seekers. And that’s exactly the point.

“We take cultural alignment to the nth degree. If the fit is not good for you, then it’s not good for us. It’s a sensibility,” said Aēsop general marketing manager, Lisa D’Amico.

While it may seem a bit intense, when the boot fits, “it really works,” says one current head office employee. “We’re trying to promote a beautiful idea that flows through every aspect of the business – from the product packaging to the stores themselves, up to the way we work each day. It’s about aesthetic and thoughtfulness.”

This unique employer branding strategy positions Aēsop as a strict employer, but not necessarily a bad one. Aēsop does not hide away from its culture and employer brand – in fact, they make in clear across their careers page and careers video. This approach means that job seekers who wouldn’t work well in this environment are put off early, saving both Aēsop and the applicant time.

The question is, no matter who you are as an employer, are you shouting it from the rooftop?

Whatever your story, you need to be sharing it with the world. By telling people who you are loud and clear, you’ll immediately increase your recruitment potential by being upfront and directly appealing to job seekers who are a perfect fit. But there is one thing to keep in mind…

“An employer brand doesn’t develop overnight,” says Mark Puncher, Head of Employer Branding. “Every organisation has an employer brand that’s been forming since day one. The trick to telling your story and guiding your employee value proposition to where it needs to be, is understanding who you are, where you’ve been, where you want to go and who the right people are to take your organisation and employer brand forward.”

If you want to position yourself as an employer of choice and attract the best people who are right for your organisation, start amplifying your employer brand. That’s where we can help – and we promise to let you use sticky notes, Tupperware, take-away coffee cups and any notebook you like.

Editor’s note: Employment Office provides leading Employer Branding services based on proven recruitment results. Get in touch with Employment Office’s Head of Employer Branding, Mark Puncher, for a free consultation today.

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