Even though employer branding has long become a substantial part of any HR competence, many doubts are harboured as to the channels through which the company brand should be promoted. While filling the website pages and social media posts with moderate self-glorification seems to be the most obvious road to take, HR professionals should consider a more powerful and authentic path of the company message delivery – through the employees.
The reason behind is in the natural word-of-mouth power: it can destroy or boost an entire business reputation – even more now, since feedback has gone digital and got an exceptional vigour. Anyone can directly address thousands of people and share opinions, including the ones on your workplace. The feedback coming from your employees is extremely influential in communicating the company’s brand, especially to potential job candidates.
Employees are more credible than official company content
Forbes delivers some eye-popping stats: “brand messages shared by employees on social media earn 561% more reach than the same messages shared by the brand’s social media channels — and 8 times more engagement”. It’s pretty safe to say, the employee advocacy shapes a company’s brand equity way more than any external stakeholder can and empowering your employees to become brand advocates is a fundamental step for any HR strategy. It is also cost-efficient: an employee advocacy program costs 1/10 of paid advertising.
Why is it so beneficial? Because people outside your business tend to trust the employees’ direct feedback rather than the company-created content. The Authenticity Gap, a 2017 FleishmanHillard global research, revealed that the employee’s voice is 3 times more likely to be trusted than the top management’s one, when it comes to talking about a brand or a company. The study underscores that “the humble employee appears to have become an unlikely hero in the quest for credible brand information”. The perks of employee advocacy are thus numerous: it increases brand recognizability, adding to it a human touch, strengthens employee engagement, and consequently endorses candidate pipeline and talent retaining.
Turn your employees into brand ambassadors
To leverage your staff as a precious employer branding resource, you should consider designating employer brand ambassadors. These employees would take it upon themselves to spread the word about the company, contextualizing it with their special insider touch. They can create content themselves, or you can provide them with drafts.
See your employees as influencers, nurture a corporate culture that invigorates positive news and company’s initiatives sharing. Remind employees of the positive impact they’re making and encourage participation in the advocacy program, gamifying the process with small rewards or giving a shout-out to your torchbearers in internal communications.
There is a lot of space for ideas that your brand ambassadors can transform into shareable content. Suggest them to contribute short success stories: great things their colleagues are accomplishing, cases they are proud of. These stories coming from real people and not an anonymous business will resonate with users on social media platforms.
Another good content direction – contextualizing the benefits and employee-centered policies that distinguish your company. Your brand ambassadors may write about the perks of having flexible working hours that allow them to spend more time with their families.
One important thing to remember in setting your employee advocacy programme – never force it too much and don’t impose too many rules, as it works best if your ambassadors don’t feel pressured to gush about the company.
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