Guest blog by Paul Breton at Blue Octopus Recruitment.
An engaged workforce is a fantastic thing to have, but it only goes so far if prospective applicants aren’t aware of it. A strong employer brand is a key part of your recruitment strategy and vital to persuading job seekers to apply for your roles.
Getting real people to be the voice of your brand is a really effective way of spreading a message. A candidate is three times more likely to trust a post about a company when it comes from an employee than when it comes from the CEO, so your staff are a powerful recruitment marketing tool!
When staff care about their business, they’re usually happy to shout about that fact. But where do you start when you’re encouraging happy employees to get the word out about the company?
Clarify your brand
Obviously you need some kind of established brand if your staff are going to be talking about it. But do those employees actually know what you want them to sell?
A great brand that nobody recognises isn’t that great after all, as it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do, which is to represent your organisation through laying out values and setting expectations. Even if you have the best values in the world, it’s not worth much if they’re not communicated well.
41% of employees in a US survey were unsure of what their brand values were. Work out what you stand for, and don’t neglect to communicate this to your employees! You can check if this is being done effectively in your own organisation using a real-time employee engagement survey.
All of this is important not just for publicity reasons, of course, but to ensure everyone shares the vision of management and embodies the right core values.
Set the guidelines
Every organisation will have stuff that employees and others close to the company can’t talk about. Whether or not an NDA is in place, we can be sure that you wouldn’t want your staff sharing confidential information with the rest of the world.
When it comes to your company’s value as an employer, staff might be particularly reluctant to discuss more personal aspects of working life, such as benefits and salary. Clearly laying out the do’s and don’ts is a strong strategy here.
Gap’s social media strategy, for example, is informal but strict, barring ‘talking about financial information, sales trends, strategies, forecasts, legal issues, future promotional activities…[giving] out personal information about customers or employees,’ and more.
Staff need a social media policy to clarify not just what they can’t talk about, but what they are encouraged to talk about, as well as to whom and using what methods of outreach.
Your employees will share more often and more widely if management remove the barriers to do so. This is why it’s helpful to lend your staff the tools and opportunities they need to become ambassadors for your employer brand.
There are so many ways you can do this, such as by featuring ‘staff stories’ on your online recruitment website, encouraging them to write blogs and setting up Twitter accounts for new employees. It worked for Microsoft as part of their push to increase hires by 300%, and it can work for you!
These might seem like small gestures by themselves, but by targeting avenues that job candidates will be exposed to, your organisation can do great things.
You can go beyond the web and arrange networking events too. Sending your employees to conferences and job fairs will go a long way towards getting your message out there.
Paul Breton is Marketing Executive with online recruitment specialists Blue Octopus Recruitment in Otley, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom.
Image courtesy of Suwit Ritjaroon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net