Online marketing and brand management have become a standard requirement of any businesses strategy. Companies can no longer ignore social media, website maintenance or content marketing efforts as strategies used to stand out from an ever growing crowd. One way in which you can rise above the rest in order to attract new business and talent is to unashamedly market your employer brand. But what if you’re not in Management, and the business doesn’t currently have a strong EB, what can YOU do to change that?
There are many ways in which you can implement change that will improve and strengthen your employer’s brand. Some of these changes are small and can be introduced quickly and easily, others will take more planning and effort.
Marketing, believe it or not, is not just a responsibility of your Marketing department, it’s the responsibility of each and every employee. You’re personally able to market your employer’s brand through the content you share online, the people you talk to everyday and the way in which you represent yourself professionally. Below are some examples of the things you can influence and implement to improve your employer’s brand, even if the current culture doesn’t nurture employer branding proactively.
The power of individual networking
Most people have extensive online networks, often containing hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers and talent. This resource is invaluable to your employer, especially when your contacts are already engaged with you as a brand advocate. By tapping into your own network you can publicise your employer’s brand in a number of ways that are not overwhelming or annoying to your contacts, but improve visibility of the brand.
This could include:
- Sharing photos of an event or initiative being run by your employer
- A simple comment about how good your day was (most people tend to moan about a bad day!)
- An example of something you’ve done for work that you’re proud of, such as a presentation or article
- A mention of a reward or prize that you received for an achievement at work
It’s a known fact that people are more likely to buy from a business that’s been recommended by a friend online, so isn’t it obvious that if you want more business for your employer, you should recommend them to your network of friends and contacts.
By introducing relevant contacts to your colleagues, whether this be regarding a vacancy, a joint business venture or for the services that they can offer, you can start to increase your network, and that of your employer. Employee referrals are known to have a number of other benefits for both the candidate and the employer, these include:
- The employers talent pool is increased beyond those actively looking for a position. If a role is recommended by a friend then it may be considered even if someone’s not actively looking for a new role
- By using a referral scheme businesses can avoid expensive recruitment agencies, offline media adverts and/or job boards
- As people tend to share common interests with at least some of their friends or contacts, niche positions may be easier to fill using a referral scheme
- Paying employee referral bonuses can have a positive effect on their morale
- The new employee will already know at least one other member of staff from the very first day, aiding integration
- Referrals are often the quickest way to fill a position, compared with job boards and career sites
- Employees who join a business as a result of a referral often stay with the company longer than those who join through recruitment agencies etc
Onboarding isn’t just the responsibility of management
From welcoming new employees to your organisation through the entire life cycle management process, CIPHR Onboarding can help you deliver the best experience possible. Your recruitment process is the first impression your new employee will have of your company and the ongoing experience once they have joined is just as important. They must be immersed in your culture and policies and furnished with the business tools they need to succeed in their new role. Getting this process right can help ensure a quick and sustained return on your investment.
The onboarding process doesn’t start or finish on an employees first day, it starts before an applicant even applies for a role and long after the person has started with the business. The experience people have of your employer from the first time they hear about the brand, right through the end of their probation and throughout the time they are with the company will decide whether they become a brand advocate or not. As an existing employee you can influence they way in which people perceive your employer by:
- Ensuring that communication is maintained with the applicant, keeping them informed on progress throughout the application process
- Implementing an eRecruitment system to improve processes, build a talent pool and communicate effectively with all applicants
- Implementing a process internally to optimise the new employees integration within the business, which benefits both the employee and the company. This can be both through the use of technology and by making sure those involved are aware of their responsibilities
- Allowing future employees restricted access to the employee self service portal in order to complete their details, read through policies and learn more about the business prior to their start date
Making sure that the onboarding process is a positive and pleasant experience will increase your employers retention rate, improve morale and create a brand advocate out of new employees. An applicant who’s had a positive experience all the way through the recruitment process is far more likely to recommend future vacancies to their friends and contacts, further reducing potential recruitment costs.
Social engagement is crucial
A brand which is seen to have socially engaged employees, as well as being engaged itself, is far more likely to attract talent than one which has no online presence. Encouraging colleagues to engage with customers, and each other, through social media on behalf of the business is a great way to build relationships, influence and trust.
Some businesses allow a different employee to use the corporate Twitter account each day, giving a different perspective on life within the company.
Others implement support via social media, allowing instant contact, or different accounts for specific areas of the business, allowing an insight into these specific business functions and the people behind them. Whichever strategy you choose, ensure that you select the networks that you’ll use carefully, don’t spread your brand too thin, and maintain a presence. Social engagement is a full time, permanent job.
By being actively engaged online you’ll display a human side to the business, which is attractive to candidates and customers alike. Many of the people that will engage with your brand online will do so because they’re of a similar mindset and agree with what your brand stands for. Having this engaged talent pool, that already understand your brand, is an enormous benefit and a huge advantage over more traditional forms of recruitment.
What have you got to hide?
Customers have a choice of many different brands, all easily accessible and all vying for their business. In order to stand out and attract these customers you’ll need to show that you can be trusted and have nothing to hide. By allowing transparency into your business, you’re showing that you’re happy for people to see behind the scenes and what goes on within your company. Day to day activities, employee stories and business news are all content that prove very popular among followers, whether they’re customers or potential employees. Many businesses have become active on Instagram as it allows an informal, candid view of a brand, available anywhere it allows businesses to use imagery or video to give an insight into their brand and it’s employees lives, in real time.
Transparency increases trust of potential talent and customers alike, once trust is established these new advocates are far more likely to share your content and become your extended marketing department.
Monitor | Improve | Repeat
If you don’t monitor your progress in all areas of your employer brand then you can’t improve and optimise your processes, or strategies in order to improve them. For monitoring online activities there are numerous analytical tools available that will track and report on your progress regarding social media and your company website. Tools such as Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Cyfe and Social Sprout monitor and help you to improve your efforts.
Tracking onboarding and internal processes can be achieved through the use of employee surveys, tracking and comparing retention rates, recruitment cost comparisons and a variety of other metrics relevant to your brand success.
Get everyone involved
Integrating the above into your company culture helps to make brand marketing part of an employees everyday life. If all employees are aware of the company values, and are in agreement with them (which they should be) then they’re far more likely to share news and updates regarding the brand with their networks. Getting buy in from your colleagues and management can be achieved in a number of ways, many of which also benefit other areas of the business too, these include:
- Make teamwork and collaboration part of every day life within the business by encouraging discussion and providing the tools employees require to collaborate
- Ensuring that management listen to the ideas and suggestions of the employees, and act on these suggestions
- Explain the business benefits of what you’re trying to achieve, and why this affects your colleagues individually (what’s in it for them?)
- Make a competition out of the objectives (a prize for the most reshares etc)
The more colleagues that you can involve in initiatives then the more likely they are to succeed. Additional input as to the best ways to achieve certain goals, more minds to present ideas and a greater number of colleagues to resolve any problems are all advantages of increasing buy in from your colleagues.