A new series of Queer eye returned in January, and it’s the soul reviving, good news we all needed. If you’ve never seen Queer Eye, it’s lovely viewing, like someone wrapping a warm blanket around you on a cold day. The premise is the Fab Five, a queer collective, descend on a conservative town to transform the life of a nominated person, known as the hero, in just one week. Each member of the Fab Five brings their own unique superpower to the table and is responsible for making over a different area of the hero’s life. Which got us thinking. Imagine all the wonderful things that could happen if the Fab Five were let loose on the world of employer branding! But before we dive into that glorious fantasy, let’s take a look at what each of them does on the show.
Responsible for: Food and wine.
Behaviours: Investigates the hero’s kitchen, rifles through their fridge, tastes and sniffs whatever he finds and quizzes them on their diet and eating habits.
Solution: Finds a way to help the hero connect with food, normally by teaching them a recipe they can master so they can cook for others, and more importantly to cook for themselves, because preparing yourself a nutritious meal can be a simple and important act of self-care.
“Learn how to treat your vegetables with the love and kindness that they deserve”.
Responsible for: Design.
Behaviours: Explores the hero’s home and tries to understand how they use their space.
Solution: There is no doubt that Bobby does more work than anyone, typically making over almost an entire house (sometimes even a cafe, shop or fire station!) in the space of a few days. This includes tearing down and building walls, decorating and new furnishings top to bottom.
“Coming home to a tidy, pulled-together space will help everything in your life feel the same way.”
Jonathan Van Ness, aka JVN
Responsible for: Grooming.
Behaviours: Extremely positive, bold personality, will examine the hero’s hair and then provide feedback on the contents of their bathroom cabinets.
Solution: Full glow up, including new hair, skincare routine, personal hygiene standards, general pampering and most importantly, encourages self-love.
“Being normal is being completely unique, because nobody’s the same. Normal, honey? Who is she, anyway?”
Responsible for: Culture and lifestyle.
Behaviours: His expertise is rooted in relationships and social interaction. He dives deep into the mind and daily habits of the hero. It’s basically a therapy session.
Solutions: Finds actionable ways to help them move out of whatever is keeping them stuck, in a healthy way. Sometimes this is about helping them reconnect with themselves or with others, finding a new hobby or rediscovering a forgotten passion.
“Culture is about what people feel, and they experience the world around them.”
Responsible for: Fashion.
Behaviours: Starts by rummaging through their wardrobe and ruthlessly chucking things out. He questions the hero to understand how they want to be seen in the world, what clothing makes them feel good and which celebrity styles they admire.
Solution: Takes the hero shopping to try on outfits and educates them on how to dress appropriately for different situations (and how to have fun with the process). This is less about vanity and more about finding a way to express themselves through what they wear. As he often notes, wearing certain clothes can change the way we carry ourselves and how we walk into a room so it can be a great tool for helping shift your mindset.
“I’m never massively concerned about what somebody is wearing, as long as it makes them feel really good about themselves.”
The power of acceptance and kindness
What makes it such a moving show is witnessing the patience and compassion shown by each of the Fab Five for these total strangers, even when it challenges their personal values. JVN often faces quite blunt questions about their gender nonbinary status and Bobby poured his heart into redesigning a church, despite having negative experiences with religion in his youth. They approach every situation looking for the things they have in common, as opposed to focusing on their differences. It highlights the power of acceptance and kindness, which is why it’s such wholesome and comforting viewing. It sees the good in everyone.
The Fab Five go branding
So, like we said at the start, let’s imagine that the Fab Five turned up to take over your organisation’s employer brand. What role would they all play and how would it translate?
Antoni is all about helping you become a great host so it makes sense that he would take care of your candidate experience. Ensuring that every applicant who visits your site has a warm welcome and leaves feeling nourished. Instead of auditing your fridge, he’d test out every stage of the process and then make over your career site, your application, your candidate comms and your interview experience. (And if you have any kind of staff canteen, he’d probably get his hands on that too!).
Bobby would obviously take on design, first, transforming your workspace into a beautiful, productive and inspiring place to be. For those working remotely, he’d give your digital presence a glow up. Think virtual call backgrounds, state of the art headsets and proper lighting so you’d never have to look bad on a Zoom call again! He’d insist on every desk having at least one plant.
JVN would design a full inclusion and wellness strategy. Ensuring that your culture is one that celebrates individuals and empowers them to thrive. From making sure your job ads are inclusive and your hiring process is fair, to helping you create a sense of belonging where everyone can be their authentic self at work and let their unique personality shine through. Basically, adding a touch of JVN magic to your employee experience.
Karamo would want to understand your why?. He would interview your senior leaders and coach them to lead with vulnerability and openness. He’d then develop a solid employee advocacy programme by helping you understand the core motivations of your current workforce and how to get everyone feeling engaged and energised. This is where your true Employee Value Proposition (EVP) would be realized.
Tan would refresh your branding to help you show up in the marketplace as the best version of yourself. He’d create the ultimate style guide, establish your tone of voice and help you sell your proposition in an engaging way so that you can attract the talent you need. And of course, given the chance, I’m sure he he’d upgrade your staff uniforms where applicable too!
The Fab Five may not be experts in the talent market, but we’re pretty sure whatever they could do, given the chance, would have a positive impact on any organisation. While the idea of solving your employer branding challenges in the space of a week with a very generous budget is a pretty unrealistic concept, it’s inspiring to imagine what it could look like and never hurts to think outside the box. For now, we’ll be watching the latest season of Queer Eye; if you’re looking for some heart-warming content, we’d recommend you do too.