How To Inspire Your Employees To Become Your Employer Brand Advocates
To keep your business running successfully, you and your fellow company leaders probably spend a great deal of time and resources marketing your products, recruiting new talent, and tracking key performance indicators for business growth.
Amid all of your public-facing efforts, have you thought about the role your current employees play in advocating for your brand? After all, if you can’t convince the people who work for you that your company is worth promoting, how will you convince the masses? To help you explore that idea, we’re going to talk about how to tap into that potential to make your employees better brand advocates so that your whole organization can benefit.
Starting with a question…
WHY Is It Important for Your Employees to Be Brand Advocates?
Think about the last time you made a big purchase, such as a car or smartphone. How did you make your decision? Most likely, it was because you had heard of the brand and had some level of trust in their products. You probably searched for product reviews online. Perhaps you even consulted a close friend or trusted family member about their purchasing experiences.
The same thing goes for marketing your company’s employer brand. For starters you can (and should!) create a shiny new website with engaging content that highlights your brand. However, people interested in your brand — either because they’re seeking your product or applying to work for your organization — are going to check out information from other sources. Personal testimonials from current employees and online reviews carry more weight than content coming from the organization itself. That means that getting your employees excited about your organization’s brand is a huge asset for marketing your products and recruiting talent.
How to Inspire Better Brand Advocacy Among Your Employees
Building employer brand advocacy among your employees won’t happen overnight. It takes concerted effort to change perceptions of your brand, but the payoff can be huge. Start with the following steps to begin building positive perceptions of your company as an employer:
1. Define your employer brand – The first step seems like an obvious one, but it can be challenging. Think about what you want your organization to represent to potential future employees. Start by brainstorming a list of adjectives before building them into a employer brand mission statement.Do you want your company to be thought of as hip, creative, technologically sophisticated, socially conscious, health-promoting, or dynamic? What defines the corporate image you’re seeking to cultivate?
And then once you’ve given it thought and know for sure what you want to project as a employer brand, integrate it into everything you do. Because a brand isn’t a logo or tagline. A brand is a pattern that companies create and people perceive. One example employer to learn from is a brand you might love or hate: Nike. You’ll never see Nike ads or online materials about Nike employees looking like couch potatoes or lazy people, because its brand – as a company and as an employer – is one of persistent, motivated and active individuals.
2. Ask your employees what they think about your brand – Now that you have an idea of the brand you’d like to build, you need to see how it aligns with your employees’ perceptions. So ask! Set up confidential focus groups about company culture or design a survey to assess your employees’ perceptions. Look for areas of strength as well as places where brand perceptions have room to grow.
3. Find out what the people want from your company, in general – This goes even further than the perception of your employer brand. Look for concrete strategies to improve your standing as a good employer among your team members in actual practice.
Leadership and advancement opportunities, flexible schedules, continuing education, and wellness events are often cited as benefits that improve employee satisfaction. But don’t take our word for it – you have to ask your people. Here at kununu, we use Slack and Officevibe as communication tools that help our company’s leaders stay on the pulse of what employees really feel about things at the company.
4. Be transparent – Promoting top-down transparency regarding mission and strategy can make even your most junior employees feel empowered. The goal is to build trust among your employees, allowing them to see that you value an open work culture. This makes employees feel connected to the mission of the organization, motivating them to become brand advocates.
5. Make it easy for employees to become advocates – If your company has satisfied employees and a generally healthy internal culture, there are probably some team members who are already able and motivated to advocate for your company as an employer but they’re just looking for the best ways to do so. Your next move should be to give them concrete ways to be the positive employer brand advocates they’re ready to be.
Some ideas for that:
- Take some pictures of them to post on social media
- Put together a quick employee profile of them where they share things like what they do at the company, what they enjoy about working there, and other unique things about your company culture from their perspective. You can then post that as a blog post and / or on one of your company’s online profiles (like your kununu profile)
- Make (or have someone else – like us) create a new company culture video for your company, with your employer brand advocates as the “talent” in the videos.
6. Encourage employees to share their experiences – The Internet can be scary for organizations used to controlling their public relations messaging. Rather than trying to stifle employees’ voices, try the opposite approach: encouraging them to widely share their experiences with your company. Assuming you’ve done the hard work of building a positive company culture, this can be an excellent way to get the word out about your fantastic organization. Ask them to write reviews of your organization and interact with their social networks about your brand. Their authentic voices will be more powerful than the most carefully crafted marketing message coming from your PR team.