So, you’ve probably heard by now that some companies in Silicon Valley decided to hire models to attend their annual holiday parties and act as friends of executives. The purpose was not to show the executives had pretty friends, but to add some ‘prettiness’ to the party:
Along with a seemingly endless string of harassment and discrimination scandals, Silicon Valley’s homogeneity has a more trivial side effect: boring holiday parties. A fete meant to retain all your talented engineers is almost certain to wind up with a rather same-y crowd, made up mostly of guys. At this year’s holiday parties, however, there’ll be a surprising influx of attractive women, and a few pretty men, mingling with the engineers. They’re being paid to.
Local modelling agencies, which work with Facebook- and Google-size companies as well as much smaller businesses and the occasional wealthy individual, say a record number of tech companies are quietly paying $50 to $200 an hour for each model hired solely to chat up attendees. For a typical party, scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 8, Cre8 Agency LLC is sending 25 women and 5 men, all good-looking, to hang out with “pretty much all men” who work for a large gaming company in San Francisco, says Cre8 President Farnaz Kermaani. The company, which she wouldn’t name, has handpicked the models based on photos, made them sign nondisclosure agreements, and given them names of employees to pretend they’re friends with, in case anyone asks why he’s never seen them around the foosball table.
So, my HR brothers and sisters lost their minds over this on the social webs!
There were many comments all going down the path of: “Gross”, “Pathetic”, “Trumps America”, etc.
I have a different take. This is Recruitment Marketing in the real world. Most of us don’t live in Disneyland, and the real world of hiring is a bit different for the majority.
Here’s the deal. Tech hires are mostly men. White men, brown men, black men, really, really pale white men, but mostly men.
If you have a holiday party at a Tech company and it’s all dudes, well, that’s not very exciting. In fact, it’s pretty sad for all the dudes standing around looking at each other. If you were part of that party, as a dude, you probably wouldn’t tell your friends to come work with you.
Now, if you go to a party and there’s a bunch of hot women, hey, this place is pretty great! I’ve got a chance. Now, if you knew all that ‘talent’ was paid for, now it becomes depressing again. But, if you thought, these are just ‘friends’ of some of the other employees who got invited and they just love to hang with techy dudes, now it feels a bit better, again.
These models aren’t hookers. They’re at your company party to make the ‘atmosphere’ better. Basically, these models, are like the free laundry service and ping pong table you provide. It makes the environment better. You like where you work more. You don’t tell your employees, “Hey, we offer dog walking services for free because it really has been shown to help retain you.” Everyone kind of gets that.
This is no different. Having good-looking people at your employee events, makes it seem like this place is cooler than it probably really is. By the way, these pretty people, are in on the game! They are making money using their god given assets. Just as the techy people are using their big brains.
We love to hate. The reality is, America is addicted to pretty. We made the Kardashians millionaires for absolutely no reason except for their looks. We want to be pretty. We want to hang with pretty. We are a nation that values pretty over almost everything else.
Is that right? No! Is that part of the game we are in right now? Yes.
Pro Tip: I get around hiring pretty models (male and female) at my holiday party by just hiring pretty employees to begin with! Stay thirsty my friends.
Could also consider people who are pretty on the inside as well. That’s where my work (social intelligence) comes in! & especially for enlivening techy types.
What about having the employees invite a guest? Then they could bring their “hot” friend. Good story it made me laugh! We need that in HR!
If you feel like you have to hire models because your holiday party is lame, hold a different event. Rent out a movie theater for the Star Wars movie. Take a bus tour of craft breweries in the area. It’s not that difficult to find other ways to celebrate with your team and have fun together.
I don’t disagree with you, Bonita. All great ideas!