Well, didn’t last week’s blog The F Word: To use or not to use? cause a stir.
Within hours of the blog going live, I had a lively social media exchange with Vend’s Talent & Innovation Manager, Troy Hammond and various other interested parties, all with something to say on this (clearly) polarising topic.
Troy wrote a blog in reply to mine; My reply to Ross Clennentt’s blog about our use of the word……. ‘F%#&;’.
Wellington-based HR blogger, Richard Westney then weighed in with his blog on the Ross v Troy sloush; A culture to swear by (broadly supporting my opinion).
A day or so later, Australian blogger, Dan Nuroo, blogged My take on F-Gate (broadly supporting Troy’s opinion).
I encourage you to read all three blogs for an insight into the different views on this topic.
One thing is for certain; Vend received a lot of extra and free publicity for the (still open?) vacancy.
Like many of their contemporaries in the technology space, Vend are working hard, very hard, to carve out a distinct culture that attracts the type of people they need to build their business. You only have to take a quick look at their Careers page or their Tumblr page to get a sense of their people and the environment.
It feels similar to Australian technology company, Atlassian, who have become famous for their distinct culture; and whom I blogged about nearly six years ago when they promoted a very different sort of recruitment agency engagement model.
Interestingly Atlassian have always had, as one of their proclaimed values, Don’t #@!% the customer.
In the Atlassian video See how we live our values, we hear various Atlassian employees discuss that value using the actual F word, however in the audio the word is beeped out.
Clearly, for the Atlassian Directors, the public use of the F word is a bridge too far, and unnecessary for the message, and culture, to be effectively communicated to the target audience.
Maybe us Aussies are a bit too uptight and we need our Kiwi cousins to show us more than just how to play rugby and one-day cricket? Maybe the Kiwi style is more casual and conducive to the public use of the F word (I doubt if it’s any different inside a company though)?
The obvious point to make is that a person like me (as a 48 year old, beardless, family man with none of the key selection criteria from that ad) is not the target market for this (or I suspect, any other) Vend position, so why would Vend care what I think?
If they can attract the right candidates for this role (and they assure me that they are doing so) then my view is noted, but irrelevant (as Troy points out in his blog-in-reply).
In summary, I disagree with what Vend are doing BUT…
- I support free speech (within the law), and
- I encourage any company to keep doing what’s working for them (within the law and the appropriate industry Code of Conduct).
I just want to reiterate my original point; using the F word in any external communication, without any other context, may not necessarily be seen by the reader as representative of a be-yourself ‘culture’ (as Vend insists) but more as a look-at-me piece of showmanship from the keyboard of a recruitment advertising writer who’s too lazy to find a better word to use to attract the right candidate for their culture.