EMPLOYEES:YOUR BEST ADVOCATES OR WORST ENEMIES?

What is an employer brand?
An employer brand is what people say about you when you’re not there. In other words, it’s your reputation. And how do you get a reputation? Simple, two key elements:

1. The experience you deliver to a candidate, an employee even a provider or a client. When we conduct focus groups on candidate perception, often they will judge the employer according to their experience as a client. For example, when students were questioned about Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert, a well-known family restaurant chain, they didn’t think of them as an employer. They went to St-Hubert as kids to celebrate family occasions and found that the servers were old. They looked more like aunts than coworkers! Experiencing your unique EVP (employer value proposition) is key; this is the only thing you can control as an employer.

2. What they say about you in traditional media or now, in social media. You can influence the conversation but you can’t control it. Let’s say your HR department did a great SEO job in positioning your career section when candidates are looking for opportunities on Google. Your career site ranks top 5 but right before yours, there’s a Facebook page where x-employees are giving negative reviews on your company. Who do you think people will believe? And how profitable are all your employer marketing efforts?

Who owns your Employer Brand?
Employer Brand isn’t about marketing or HR, it’s about real people and their experience at very phase of the lifecycle as a worker or a candidate. It’s about real people living a coherent experience with the promise, the purpose and the values of an organization.

How do you use your Employer Brand to attract? 
People will ask other people about you before they consider working for you. People love to talk and share opinions. Earn the respect and referrals of your employees, they’ll do the rest. Research after research has demonstrated that happyemployees produce more than unhappy ones over the long haul. Plus, there is a correlation between happy employees and happy consumers. Beyond added productivity and loyalty, happy employees will trigger positive word of mouth. Ideally, you would be blessed with employees who thrive as their enthusiasm, vitality and energy are contagious, inside and out.

Word of mouth, being probably the oldest way of communication is now millionified with the Web. We turn to people we trust first to ask for advice or opinions when starting to look for a new job opportunity.
And the Web makes it so much easier.


Understand that, whether or not you like it, someone’s talking about you. The conversation has started, so you might as well get involved. A lot of that talk is happening online, millions of people blog, millions more post online reviews. It’s easy today for a candidate to make a search on LinkedIn and identify workers of the company where he is considering to apply, and then see who’s in his network and ask them what it’s like to work there. The candidate can even Google the future hiring manager to learn more. Great talents have the choice and the means to get the information they need!

One thing to remember
The speed of word of mouth on the Internet spreads the truth (good or bad) almost instantly. Yes, it’s uncomfortable; corporations are used to control and push key messages. You can no longer hide if you suck as an employer. The goal is to earn good word of mouth on an ongoing basis.

Where to start?
With a good intention: first be a better employer, treat people well. Your Employer Brand is what you do, not what you say. Your employees will keep talking about you if your promise matches their experience. The reverse is also true, if you don’t walk the talk, they will say that, too.

Who can be your ambassadors?
Great ambassadors are happy employees who are eager to share their experience with their friends and network; they are often active recommenders. They can also be less proactive employees, but they are
the kind of people who are often asked for advice. Sometimes, they are called influencers. But you need to accept their voice. They won’t talk your corporate lingo, this is why they’re credible.


Keep them fed to keep them talking 
Transparency and information sharing are key. Doing your job in an information vacuum is tedious and uninspiring; there are no reasons to spread the word if you can’t see the larger impact.

 

People can contribute more effectively when they understand how their work fits with the organization’s mission, purpose and strategy.

 

 

 

 

Word of mouth marketing is a new specialty that is actionable, trackable
and plannable as long as the experience you deliver as an employer is worth talking about.

Your engaged employees and their networks have always been the most important source of new quality candidates. Help them do more.
The good news is these powerful communication channels will force
employers to get better. The challenge will be to listen, value employee feedback and use it to build a better company.

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  1. Good, concise article on how employers can harness the power of employees. This post should start many thoughtful conversations.

    • Céline

      Thanks Mark, word of mouth marketing or networking communication is becoming more and more effective with a structured approach, a co created strategy and powerful tools. I predict that ambassador programs will be the most cost effective way to communicate the employer brand to targets.
      Céline

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