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Embracing your brand can harness your employees’ experience

When businesses are on the pursuit of attracting top talent, it is becoming increasingly clear that they need to do more than simply produce standard brand messaging.

A skilled candidate will want to get under the skin of the company, peel back the veneer and see what it’s really like working for your business. Potential employees may well mistrust corporate messaging and want to see the social proof – they want an insider’s perspective. In this respect, employee generated and shared content can prove powerful, if harnessed in an effective way. According to Craig Fisher, head of employer branding at CA Technologies, when considering your employer brand, you should be thinking more about your ‘employees’ brand’, rather than talent marketing messaging or your employer value proposition (EVP). He says that organisations should actively develop and spread employee generated content to create, “a truly organic employer brand.” There are a number of challenges around how organisations achieve this, but we’re starting to see companies make some bold moves in this area. 

Radical transparency
Rather than control conversations in private and then carefully manage what the public gets to see, companies like the dating website Match.com, and the restaurant chain Chilis, are embracing radical transparency. Match.com is allowing employees to communicate with each other and share stories in a very public way on its Facebook page, while Chilis is doing the same thing on Instagram and Twitter. This is providing an authentic view of life within the organisations, although it’s not an approach that everybody is comfortable with. Organisations who want to ensure their content messaging is aligned to their EVP may still want to exercise greater control. 

Brand advocates
Many organisations also want to cultivate regular content rather than rely on this happening organically. It is not easy to make this happen without losing the authenticity that potential candidates want to experience. An effective way to overcome this challenge, however, is to encourage employee brand advocates. The emergence of a number of brand advocates is not something that is likely to occur naturally so we do need to consider what will motivate an employee to adopt this role. The key incentive may be recognition among their peers, an opportunity to enhance their own professional brand or a financial reward. For a brand advocate to be effective, they will also need some guidance and assistance to be active on a regular basis. Fisher claims that it’s important to provide employees with the right tools and training if they are going to produce enough content. He says that brands should be looking for, “a trust-building mix of content they can regularly share online to build thought leadership and expansion in their own networks”. And crucially, to generate more and better referrals.  

Automating the process  
Even with brand advocates in place, generating content with consistent messaging that appears in the correct format is still a constant challenge. Although, as more companies look to encourage employee participation in this process, there are a number of emerging technology providers that are now helping to automate sourcing and sharing of employee stories. Here at Papirfly, we are providing support in this area by allowing organisations to achieve brand consistency in employee generated content. Companies, such as Brand Amper and Life Guides, are also helping organisations to market themselves through employee content. As it becomes easier to harness employee experiences in this way, it is now becoming simpler for business to solve the challenge of how to connect with top talent in a much more authentic way.