Your company’s brand image, reputation, and company culture are at the forefront of the candidate experience. Research from Link Humans shows that 78% of candidateswill look into a company’s reputation before they apply for a job, and 79% are exploring your social media sites to form strong opinions. Whether checking you out on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or the increasingly popular-but-terrifying Blind, top candidates are judging you before you have the chance to formally introduce yourself.
Employer brand plays a huge role in your recruiting strategy, and more and more companies (big and small) are dedicating resources towards brand and employee value proposition development in order to attract more qualified candidates. New research from Hired’s Global Brand Health Report shares that 72% of recruiting leaders around the world agree that employer brand has a significant impact on hiring, and even more so has a significant impact on your business’s success.
So where, and how should you be investing in your employer brand?
This week we hosted an HR Roundtable discussing best practices for amplifying your employer brand, bringing together an awesome group of panelists including: Colleen Finnegan, Senior Manager of Employer Brand and Recruitment Marketing at Instacart; Viet Nguyen, Head of Technical Recruiting at One Medical; Tessa Lawler, Corporate Communications at McKesson; and Sammy Reardon, Clinical Recruitment Manager at One Medical.
Our four experts shared their best advice on how to start your employer brand strategy from scratch, how to utilize company-wide resources to maximize your budget, and how to make your employer brand program more effective overall.
Check out the full recording and recap below, and for more great advice on creating an effective employer brand strategy (and how shareable recognition stories support employee advocacy) grab a copy of our latest eBook, “How to Build Employer Brand”.
Starting your employer branding strategycan be a daunting task, but it’s the first step you need to take to put the wheels in motion.
The next decision point is where will employer branding live within your organization? Sometimes this is on the Talent Acquisition side, Corporate Communications, or within Marketing. Tessa at McKesson recommends making either Marketing or Corporate Communications departments the home for your employer brand strategy because of the connections, skill sets, and partnerships already available in these departments.
Colleen from Instacart echoes this, sharing that if employer branding can’t live within these teams, make best friends with those teammates. Besties in Marketing or Communications can be especially useful when needing a hand with graphic design, access to leadership for quotes or stories, or tools for publishing content across your career site or owned social media pages.
Beyond the topic of organizational architecture, one of our biggest takeaways from today’s event was the focus on building effective employee ambassadors. Empowering your own employees to tell their stories takes the weight of content production off your shoulders (at least a little bit), and helps you paint a more authentic picture of your company culture and employee experience.
Let’s recap the three areas to focus on when evangelizing employee content creation and employee ambassadorship:
1) Facilitate Authentic Content Creation:
Colleen suggests curating a company photo gallery so you have go-to images to tap into when needed - it seems simple, but sometimes these assets are all over the place and hard to track down easily. These photos should capture your company brand, but not all of them have to be professionally shot. Professional, sharp, and styled photos are perfect for your company’s LinkedIn and Glassdoor hero shots. But showcasing employee-generated content through your social media newsfeed and secondary photo galleries tells a real story and better suits itself to how users naturally consume content on the social media site.
To easily gather employee content, create a Slack channel (or similar home on your corporate communications hub) and encourage employees to post their favorite company moments from around the office or at company events. If needed, institute a photo release form, and always check in with employees before you post to make sure they’re comfortable.
Outside of your own internal channels, curate a company-branded hashtag that employees can use when posting about the company on their own social media profiles. As amazing content comes in, use free tools like Repost for Instagram to easily share employee content from your own phone. Taking these 5-10 minute breaks even just a few times a week to repost employee stories can go a long way in fueling your social presence.
Allow your employees to share their stories not only through photos, but through video or blog-style content as well. Viet and Sammy at One Medical believe that content effectively drives engagement - so if you have writers in the house, encourage employees from all over the company to tell their stories in the form of articles or blog posts.
Employee content is a great add-on for candidate outreach; one engineer from One Medical wrote a post on Medium reflecting on their anniversary, which recruiters are able to share with candidates as a real-life view into the culture and the impact One Medical employees can make (personal impact is a big part of their employee value proposition as well). As we learned from Hired’s Global Brand Health report, the opportunity to learn new skills and solve technical problems scored in the top five criteria candidates look for in their next role, so creating employee testimonials that support how they’re contributing to the company’s bigger goals/business priorities can be incredibly valuable.
2) Celebrate Recognition Stories:
We love experiences because they are inherently shareable. Unlike cash or gift card rewards that are naturally quiet and uncomfortable to brag about, experiences like going hot air ballooning at sunrise, to a Michelin star dining experience, or taking your first guitar lesson, are exciting to share and stimulate social currency on social media (likes and comments that build extrinsic motivation).
At Blueboard, we’ve created our own branded hashtag (#Blueboarding on Instagram) to curate not only our own internal stories of employees living our Blueboard mission, but also the celebrations of our rewarded client recipients as they go out and about on their own Blueboard rewards. Each month we vote on the best #Blueboarding photo, with the winner receiving a Blueboard Ivory reward that they get to redeem for more adventures.
Recognition stories are an incredible tool for driving employer brand. They show candidates that your company values the contributions of your employees, that employees are both seen and valued, and that you have a culture of recognition that stems from the top.
3) Create Innovative Programs That Fuel Storytelling:
When Glaukos wanted to build a culture of recognition at their company, they turned to Blueboard for help. Glaukos wanted to thank their employees for their years of service, while aligning their culture around appreciation and gratitude for their hard-working employees. And they knew that typical anniversary award gift, plaques or pins or other bonuses were not going to move the needle. Glaukos partnered with Blueboard to offer experiential rewards to celebrate key employee anniversary milestones, and to help socialize the program, took this a step further by creating a branded social destination, @FlatTomsAdventure.
Flat Tom is a fun illustration of Glaukos’ CEO, Tom Burns, modeled after the viral hit of the 90’s Flat Stanely. Glaukos employees bring Flat Tom on all sorts of adventures in a Flat Stanley fashion; whether they bring him on their Blueboard experience, office retreats, or even to their own wedding.
Unique programs like Flat Tom, are a tool for creating authentic employee-driven stories that help paint a real picture of your culture to future job candidates. Viet advises that as a talent leader, it’s your responsibility to serve a unique value proposition to your future candidates. Stay away from generic statements like “we have a great company culture” and utilize these innovative programs to fuel a story of why your offering and culture are unique.
Whether you already have a solid employer brand or if you’re just starting development, we’d love to support your company’s ability to stand out to future job candidates. To learn more about Blueboard and get in touch with our team, simply reach out via the Request Demo button above ^^.
Stay tuned for more webinars and upcoming events here on our Resources page.
See you online!