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Employer Branding & Attracting Young Top Talent

Are you concerned about engaging with Millennials and GenY? If so, ask yourself the following question: Do I want to work for a company that views me as a ‘human resource’ or a company that values my humanity?


If you don’t already, I suggest you begin following McKinsey & Company on LinkedIn. Mixed in with case-studies and best practice articles you will also see something else, something that is arguably much more interesting: McKinsey is actively using social media to change, establish and reinforce their employer branding.

When I think of McKinsey’s employment brand, I think of graduates from the top MBA programs working themselves to death for two years before changing employers and building on their valuable time at McKinsey... the classic ‘employment churn’ model. Sounds familiar, right?

( To summarize, McKinsey extended an offer to Mikolaj and agreed to postpone his start date by a year so he could accomplish his goal of biking across Eurasia. )

Isn’t that fascinating?! What has McKinsey told us about Mikolaj? Is he a data scientist or a market analyst? Is he a supply chain expert? A forensic accountant? Does he have an MBA? This post doesn’t mention his pedigree or education. We’re not even told what he does. Instead, McKinsey highlight’s his passion, sense of adventure and thirst for life as well as their ability to be an accommodating and flexible employer.

Not only is McKinsey actively changing the conversation about why the best and the brightest want to work for them, they’re also signaling a change in what defines “the best the brightest”. By highlighting Mikolaj’s passion for bicycling instead of his pedigree, they are telling they are saying something incredible to prospective employees: your identity as an individual is important to us.

The importance of that message cannot be understated. Putting the moral implications (of which there are many) aside, it reveals a fundamental change in the world of talent acquisition. Today, top talent is available at a click. With the right tools and basic know-how, you can find hundreds if not thousands of great candidates for any job. The question that needs to be answered is ‘which of these thousands of great people is the right person?” And, informing that question is something of even deeper importance—How do you know who the right person is?

In order to know the answer that question, your business needs to have a clear and accurate view of its values and culture. To attract the best people, a business needs to be the best place to work. This doesn’t necessarily mean allowing your new-hire the time off to bike across Asia, but it does mean being flexible… it means knowing your people and engaging with them in the ways they want to be engaged.

What McKinsey’s employer branding campaign is doing is changing the value-proposition to prospective candidates while broadcasting an affirmative statement about the shared culture and values of their company.

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