The Future of Branding is Personal: Employee Branding
Technology has caused a monumental shift in influence. In the current economy, corporations have turned to employee branding to help build consumer trust and bring home top talent. Before going over what exactly is employee branding, let's go over some stats.
An employee gets 561% more brand engagement when sharing a message than when the same message gets shared by the company.
The average employee has 10 times the followers on social media compared to their company.
41% of people/consumers believe reviews from employees are more credible than from companies.
The digital era has allowed any person to be accessible by anyone and anywhere in the world. That's how one person can have more influence on consumer trust than an entire organization.
This is not a possibility, but a reality.
The future of branding is personal.
If you think employee branding is about how your brand is being perceived by current and potential employees- well, its a start.
What I just described is employer branding. You might have even read about it in our blogs.
What Exactly is Employee Branding
Employee branding is a new twist in employee engagement and identity. It shapes the behavior of the employees so that they project the brand identity in their daily activities.
The core idea is to transform your employees into brand ambassadors. So that they can present your brand in the best possible light.
It depends greatly on the reach of your employees on social media. If they have great reach than brand engagement becomes that much easier. They can share your notifications which ends up getting more engagement. And sometimes new customers!
According to Ted Bauer, “It is about getting your employees on board with who you are what you do. Then through social sharing and word of mouth, they convey that externally.”
How does Employee Branding Help Your Business
An organization with great employee branding not only turns your employees into brand ambassadors but also increases productivity. On top of that, brand loyalty, motivation and reputation also increases.
This stems down to the attraction of the right talent for your organization.
According to the 2017 Elderman trust barometer, “41% of people rank employees higher as their preferred source of reviews for the business, more than the PR department, CXOs or founders."
Irrespective of how advanced your company is, the backbone of your organization are your employees.
Great brands tell great stories to their prospect talents. HR and PR departments have been leading this space, but in today’s competitive markets, the essence of the story is true only when it comes from the employees.
The Ingredients For a Great Employee Branding Recipe
There is no one ingredient that is going to make a great employee branding cookbook, but rather an amalgamation of various stuff.
Here are some interesting ways in which you can kickstart your employee branding program.
1. Educating Your Employees About Your Brand
This is definitely the first step you need to take.
Your employees cannot tell a story they don’t know. You have to teach and instill the brand message in your employees.
When you are able to educate about your brand to your employees, they are more likely to identify themselves with your brand.
When we talk about “educating” we mean explaining the employees about your corporate branding, your message, the vision of your company and everything in between.
They should be able to connect the mission and vision of your organization with that of the key stakeholders. Won’t it be weird if the vision of your company and your investors don’t align?
One way to this is to conduct brand training.
Brand training involves steps to educate your employees about your brand. How is it different from normal employee brand engagement?
The difference comes in the introduction of the idea.
Taking a formal step like brand training gives your project a great legitimacy. Your employees are more likely to reciprocate the ideas introduced in a formal setting. Brand training can have sessions like interface training and brand education.
These sessions are so designed that your employees know exactly how to introduce the values of the company to prospect talents.
This form of training truly transforms your employees into brand ambassadors.
2. Positive Reviews
Gone are the days when people used to rely on the employer value propositions for considering a new job.
With the advent of social media and sites like Glassdoor and indeed, the views of employees and ex-employees matters to a great extent.
In fact, this is arguably the most important(and misunderstood) part of your employee branding program.
Encourage your employees to give positive reviews on social media sites, Glassdoor and Indeed.
Positive reviews about your work life and employee engagement usually encourages top talents to apply and consider your brand.
There are things to watch out here now. This is what happens in most of the cases.
Someone in the workforce shares a picture on facebook with the caption “ You guys make work fun!”. Just because that person has 1500 friends on facebook, the marketing middle manager usually considers it as employee branding. Sealed and Delivered.
That sadly is not employee branding.
The person viewing the message(or in this case, the photo) usually has no context on the message.
The viewers usually don’t have an idea where the person works, what product the company produces or the website of the company.
I am not saying you need to explicit mention every detail about your brand in every message. But most companies allow employee branding to happen just for the heck of it, without any context.
Even with huge networks, messages without context will not be as powerful as you might want it to be.
At the same time, you don’t want every message shared or posted by your employees feel like an attempt at corporate branding. Provide minimal and adequate messages so that it increases brand engagement.
3. Optimizing Your Hiring Strategies
It's almost impossible to transform your employees into brand ambassadors if you are not hiring the right people in the first place.
The key here is to create a clear job description. Optimize it further with a seamless interview process.
The last thing you want is your new talent to be confused about his role. On top of that, a proper orientation process should be undertaken to adjust your new guy into the workforce.
4. Employee Engagement And ProActive Workforce
Employee branding works best when your employees are motivated and are proud of your brand.
It’s hard to implement a great employee branding when your employees hate working for you.
Create an atmosphere where employees feel like being an integral part of the organization and have the desire to uplift the brand image by sharing your messages.
Launch employee engagement programs to make sure your employees stay motivated and satisfied in your organization.
Employee engagement programs not only encourage your employees to partake in employee branding but also reduces attrition and promotes productivity.
Brand messages are more likely to be shared by engaged employees than disengaged ones. On top of that, the ideas and message will come off as genuine and not your run of the mill branding campaign slogans.
5. Listen To Feedback
An annual feedback mail pops in your employee’s mail. “Should I reply to the mail? Should I be honest? Does our company even have a feedback system?”
This is a very probable scenario in most offices. What a great feedback system ensures is great employee experience. Our experience in the employee engagement industry has shown us that employee feedback is one of the most important parts of employee branding. It allows your company to identify the effectiveness of your current projects. It also allows you to look for areas for improvement.
A great employee feedback experience gives your employees a sense of the bigger picture of the ideas of your company.
There is a reason why great employees are also known as talents. Great workers are worth their weight in gold.
But top talents are hard to come by.
All great organizations are jumping on the employee branding wagon because the story of your brand makes more sense to potential employees when it comes from the current employees.
If you want your branding campaign to work, map out what your final goals are and how you are going to get there. Communicate with your employees about the ideas and values of your organization.
And of course, you don’t want to rush through things. You should not come one fine morning and announce, “We are going to implement an employee branding program from 1100 hours!”. That's not it is suppose to work.
The smoother the transition, the more natural it is.