We had our annual marketing symposium yesterday and Steve Ballmer spoke. He took questions at the end and someone asked what gets him excited to come to work every day. My first thought was "nice softball question", but his answer really made me think about our employment brand. He bascially said 4 things:

1) smart people

2) tough business challenges

3) the opportunity to work on things that change the world

4) his unique charter and the fact that if he doesn't like something, he can change it (you know, given his job title and all)

I know that in the past, I've talked about the difficulty of measuring an employment brand. You know, having to engage a research provider, etc. But what could be more simple than just asking your employees; assuming that you want to hire more of the same (as far as I am concerned, the answer is yes and no)? It's certainly not a comprehensive study, but you do get a sense of what resonates with people. When we talk about employment brand in the abstract, the conversation generally comes back to money (ever notice that?), though I'm willing to speculate that no amount of money is going to keep someone engaged if other elements of the employment value proposition don't fall into place. I've been there and frankly could still be there is I wasn't just dying to get out ("keep the cash folks, I'm outta here").

Recruiters out there should be contacting new hires a certain period of time into their employment and then regularly and ask them why they stay (or "what gets you excited to come to work in the morning?"). Look for themes and sell the heck out of them (and never forget that a job description is a marketing tool). This is reminding me that I should be asking those questions more often.

Hiring managers should know the themes overall and specifically on their team (poll data anyone?) and foster the good stuff, work to eliminate the bad stuff, sell the heck out of it interviews and then never stop selling (it's called retention, people).

Job seekers/future job seekers-think about the best position you ever had and/or when you felt most productive. Figure out what it was that made you feel that way and then find another company that offers those things.

Anyway, in the interest of sharing, here are my "reasons":

1) smart people

2) got to craft my own job description

3) my job is new every year so I am never bored

4) industry leadership