Involving your wider team in your recruitment initiatives is not an uncommon tactic to boost applicant traffic. Most organisations set up employee referral programs or utilise imagery of their team across careers sites, however employee advocacy initiatives go one step further.
In its simplest form, employee advocacy is the action of employees advocating for your brand. In practice employees can contribute in many different ways, from social media sharing, to workplace testimonials and promotion through events and networking. In some organisations this may evolve organically, but having a structured approach and proactively empowering your team to advocate your brand can have an incredibly positive impact on your recruitment outreach.
Amplifying a collective voice
With the world at your fingertips, candidates have greater insight into organisations and their opportunities, giving them more power than ever before during the recruitment process. Never has it been more important that you showcase your brand and employee value proposition in the best light to attract and retain the best talent.
Digital media has enabled phenomenal transparency and given your audience incredible access to research and build a picture of your brand and what you stand for. For an authentic view of your organisation, most will look to your stakeholders, employees and review sites in search of a genuine review. Although a scary prospect, social media and the ease of online engagement provides a brilliant platform for you to amplify your voice through your employees, to leverage a much wider and far-reaching audience.
Collaborating with your employees to share information, vacancies, product launches and insight into organisational culture has the power to promote sales growth and improved search engine rankings, increase recruitment applications, reduce overall recruitment costs and enable you to build a tailored talent pipeline.
Building a team of brand ambassadors
Employee advocacy, however, is not driven from employer expectation, but encouraged and inspired through employee engagement initiatives. The more engaged and proud your workforce are, and the more they buy into the company vision and values, the more likely they will be to advocate for your organisation.
As a talent acquisition professional, you have a great opportunity to empower this activity. In your role you already source candidates that are a good fit for your organisation and understand the motives and key drivers behind why people join your brand. This is a great foundation for you to build on and highlights what key company characteristics or offerings are favoured, for you to encourage advocates to amplify further.
Take a look at our four key areas for driving employee advocacy:
Empower employees through internal employee engagement
Employee advocacy stems from well-supported and happy employees, therefore your organisation needs to have initiatives in place to connect, collaborate, motivate and partner with your internal teams. From CSR initiatives and company-wide town hall meetings, through to recruitment process feedback and focus groups across the organisation, there are a wealth of opportunities for engaging with employees to build their trust and to empower them to share and promote your organisation.
For some employees, posting online and promoting the brand might be new to them and something they have not explored in the past. Internal training on personal branding, the role of employer branding and social media activity is a positive way to empower your team to take action, through educating them about the value of social amplification. This activation training is a huge boost for the individual, but also ensures that your internal brand ambassadors have a great social presence, which in turn promotes your employer brand too.
Feature employees throughout your careers site
We all know that candidates look beyond the job description when applying for roles, exploring careers sites, online existing employee material, reviews and social media. Why not make it easier for your candidates, providing content that is relevant, engaging and genuine from people within the organisation?
Your careers site should be a hub for information for your prospective applicants, so they can see, hear, and experience first-hand what sets your organisation apart. Utilising testimonials, case studies, short vox pops or video clips, you can provide candidates with an authentic view into the working environment with personal stories and glimpse of workplace culture.
Deliver ‘share-worthy’ content for a social media boost
For those new to posting, it can be difficult to know what to share or what is allowed by the company. Creating a set of social media guidelines and providing share-worthy content, will encourage your teams to post positive stories that will boost applicant traffic.
This content could include recent award wins, employee events, individual team initiatives and away days that showcase your brands’ culture. You can then circulate the news around the organisation prompting people to share the pictures, videos or stories themselves and even include share buttons in your emails or on your intranet site to boost the response.
Many organisations also take it one step further and pull their internal content into marketing campaigns. These campaigns then run alongside your overarching promotional campaigns, but instead of promoting your product or service, they promote the employer brand. For this, you could create a company hashtag, such as #LifeAtX or #WeAreX and encourage your team to utilise it. This can quickly gain momentum and also act as a tracking tool, to see how many people are utilising the hashtag across the organisation for brand awareness. In addition, you could look to launch a leaderboard or internal competition including social media, which would activate your internal audience to get involved and share.
Maximise review sites and employer platforms
There are lots of different channels candidates can gleam company insight from and one popular source is review sites. It is natural for a curious candidate to check out the employee feedback and thoughts on sites such as Glassdoor and although you cannot always vouch for every review being positive, you can be proactive in your review strategy.
Alongside prompting employees to complete reviews and utilise career milestones and employee reviews to encourage engagement, you can also actively respond to those left and provide a neutral comment. This not only shows your commitment to working with your teams, but also can help balance reviews left by disenchanted employees, to keep your review page balanced.
Employee advocacy can be a powerful tool in your employer brand mix, supporting your recruitment marketing and employee retention efforts. It is about striking a balance between organic, authentic amplification and structured initiatives that empower and encourage your internal ambassadors to share positive news stories and great content. Over time, the training, awareness and internal communications will naturally lead to an increase in reviews, shares and posts, providing you with an army of recruiters across your organisation, enabling you to reach a wider audience, build a healthy talent pipeline and effectively attract and onboard the very best talent.
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