Employer branding has made the cut on the list of strategic business priorities for many…
Before reading this article, ask yourself whether your company culture is worth sharing yet? If not then start there.
Employee ambassadorship starts with a great culture that will inspire your people to talk about it and recommend it to others.
You wouldn’t start fixing a bad restaurant by fishing for TripAdvisor reviews; you’d hopefully start with why your customers don’t like your food, so it makes sense to apply the same logic to your company culture.
Got a great culture, or at least a good one? Then here are our 5 top tips for getting your employees excited to tell your shared story.
Help them build their personal brand as well
Let’s get real about the inextricable link between your employees’ personal brands and the corporate one you want them to represent: in championing your organisation and becoming ambassadors, they’re publicly aligning with your values. If you look bad, they do too.
Consider what you’re saying in your content that makes the company look awesome, but also, what will make them look awesome for working there.
Perhaps you’ve launched a game-changing new product. Or you have the most ‘out there’ Christmas party. Or your management team just shaved their heads for charity. What stories can you share to make someone take notice? This is the content that your employees will be naturally willing to share.
Make them proud of you
Got nothing good to say yet? Then why not actually do something good that’s in line with your values and those of your employees. If you genuinely do something meaningful that aligns to your values and means something to people, employees will feel proud to work for you, and you’ll find that ‘shares happen’ organically.
Make them creative partners
Why not treat your employees as creative collaborators? Brand influencers build a following by using their own creative lens and authentic voice. Think about how you can channel their creativity into content that you can co-create.
An easy way to do this is to provide an open creative brief to your most engaged employees and invite participation internally – this makes your role more that of a curator rather than creator. But be aware that without the appropriate support and tools, the quality of content could vary.
Your channels are their channels too
Are you thinking about your external channels as employee engagement channels? Do you protect ownership of ‘your message’ in a way that discourages employees from sharing?
Your current employees will help to drive engagement levels, content and conversations on your social channels – but only if they actively follow you. Think about these channels as a dialogue between your internal and external communities. Encourage your employees to mention the brand online and then ensure you share and hero the content they create and engage your official channels with.
Let go of a little control and consider initiatives like ‘employee takeovers’ of your Instagram stories for the day or do a LinkedIn live with some key employee ambassadors.
Incentivise – and no we don’t necessarily mean with money
If you want your employees to be true ambassadors for you then acknowledge the extra work and time that it takes. Recruit enthusiasts transparently and make ambassadorship covetable with a clear value exchange and clear responsibilities: you could give employee ambassadors opportunities to speak at global conferences, have access to a LinkedIn Premium account (or have their content promoted via LinkedIn Elevate) and represent the employer brand at key events.
In return they might be asked to create a number of social posts regularly within guidelines but with broad freedoms on how and what they say and have a percentage of their time allocated to ‘brand activities’, free from performance management criteria.
On a final note, wanting employees to be the voice of your brand, but only if they have nice things to say isn’t how it works. It’s important to know that you are entering a grey zone; if you open up the floor to employees, you are going to paint an authentic picture. Asking someone to write you a review on TripAdvisor is all very well but you can’t control what they write. Similarly, asking your employees to post about your organisation will likely create a realistic representation, warts and all, of your employee experience, played out in the world. Try to get comfortable with this.
As the walls between internal and external become evermore eroded you might as well accept that any new hire that will last the course may have already seen the full spectrum of possible experiences and weighed up the odds of being happy at your company accordingly.
It’s not the worst thing in the world to be real. If you want to be more authentic in your communications, and create ambassadors within your organisation, get in touch with our Strategy team to see how they can help.