According to recent research, fewer than half of recruiters understand and can articulate the employment brand of their respective organizations (CEB’s Employment Brand Effectiveness Survey, 2014). Additionally, this research shows that 80% of applicants’ decisions to apply to a company are informed by sources outside of the organization, including peer to peer, word of mouth, news sources, social media, and sites like Glassdoor. Therefore, it’s important—more now so than ever—to empower employees to become brand advocates and to equip them to improve their personal brands. You need your employees to want to be on your team, to wear your brand proudly. When companies can achieve this, it creates a win-win opportunity.
Case in point: Last year, a global professional services firm invited members of its women’s employee interest group to improve their personal brands and help recruit more people like them by sharing their stories. The firm trusted this group—comprised of both women and men in offices around the world—with the company messaging, gave them time to concentrate on what they wanted to say, and offered them a tool that would help them tell and share their brand on social networks like LinkedIn.
The firm wanted this to be a “give” rather than an “ask” of employees. It wanted group members to have a tangible benefit―an improved social footprint that would help them with their job, career goals, and personal brand. The company purchased licenses to Brand Amper, a brand management platform for recruiting and employment branding, in order to make the process as seamless as painless and offer the group some guidance.
The reaction from the employees was positive overall. One member said, “It was easy and not time consuming. I liked that the company invested in helping women communicate their value.” In addition to helping staff tell their stories and those of the company, this activity helped to further engage employees.
Other benefits of this personal branding (and thus employer branding!) initiative included:
- Identifying employee group members who were interested in becoming “brand leaders” to share more company content. This has real and immediate value, as this list is being used to source bloggers and identify people who should be given access to content sharing tools and who may be good candidates for future programming. In a global company, identifying brand advocates can be time consuming and laborious. Using Brand Amper was a way to do it organically, letting enthusiasts reveal themselves, while avoiding assumptions that waste time and money.
- Gaining valuable insights into what this group likes to do outside of work to create more segmented, targeted recruitment marketing assets. By using Brand Amper, the firm learned that members of the group had a lot in common, as similar activities were mentioned in story after story. Discovering these preferences led to the creation of new campus recruiting collateral.
- Getting real-time intelligence about what the employer brand means to different people. The company offered several messages (sometimes referred to as “brand bumpers”) to this group to use or customize. By broadening beyond a “one-size-fits-all” message, project leaders not only saw which message resonated with which employee, but also had the opportunity to see what messages employees would create on their own.
Employee-generated stories will have a huge impact on your employer brand and recruitment marketing strategy. Think about how many ways employee stories can be used: on your career site, on your social channels, in email, to nurture to your talent network, in video, on Glassdoor. Plus, cultivating employee advocates can drive better and more referrals.
Starting with a scalable, online tool is an easy way to effectively manage and monitor these stories, as well help fuel many potential recruitment marketing benefits. If you start by partnering with employees now, they can fuel your employer brand and recruitment marketing throughout this year and years to come.