Why is it that everyone wants to work for Google?
Yes, even those of us who (admittedly) don’t come equipped with the pre-requisite tech prowess.
Everyone has seen pictures and read articles about everything from their nap pods to their “work hard, play hard” work culture. None of this is an accident. All of it is part of a well-crafted Employment Branding campaign designed to use employee advocacy to reinforce their own brand desirability to potential talents and end-consumers alike.
Your first customer is your employee
So what have they done right? In the recent decade, most businesses have come to grasp the importance of branding and the value it adds to customer acquisition and retention. However, most companies tend to focus their branding efforts merely on external communication of their products and services. Most fail to realise that their first customer is not external. Your first customers are your own employees.
Creating your brand vision and philosophy is only the first step. Activating your brand and actualising your mission is not just something you can assign to your Chief Marketing Officer or your PR manager. It requires your entire army to be on board. Connecting two of your most valuable assets – your brand and your people – sounds simple enough, but is often neglected.
With an increasingly competitive job market coupled with millennials changing jobs as frequently as they change their Instagram handles, building a brand that attracts and retains talents has become a key concern for many companies. What can you do to win over the hearts of your staff and encourage employee branding through the projection of your brand’s identity in employees’ everyday work?
Turning your employee into a brand advocate
Step 1: Prepare a (good) battle cry
A brand philosophy that only exists on paper or on your website is as inspiring as watching paint dry. Employees need to see how it can be translated to their individual day-to-day jobs and how it helps to achieve the company’s vision. Like a sergeant who leads his army through war by uniting them with a common belief, employees need to be inspired through purpose – how the company and their jobs make a meaningful impact on the world. It is this common purpose that drives a team through the toughest of times.
Step 2: Reinforce the why
In this information-driven age, employees always want to know why. No longer are employees satisfied with just doing what they are told. They need to see how a project or task fits into the mission of the company. They need to see the big picture of how their actions will impact the company getting from point A to B, otherwise they won’t help you get there. Transparency is key in building trust with employees.
Step 3: Get to know each employee
Brands are starting to see the importance of thinking from their customer’s perspective. The same should apply for your employees. People are no longer a massive work force. Employees look upon themselves as persons with unique needs. By understanding your employee’s individual values, strengths and aspirations, you can align the company’s goals with their personal goals and leverage on their motivations to help them be a better advocate for you.
Step 4: Don’t be afraid to share a piece of your brand
Brand owners are frequently protective of their brand and hesitant to share it with employees. What they don’t see is that this sends the wrong message and may end up alienating employees instead. Empower your employees by giving them ownership of the brand. Encourage brand storytelling and interaction with consumers through social media and employee-generated content. When employees feel the impact of their role in helping to build the brand, they act as brand owners and help you take care of your brand. Studies show investing in a strategy to help showcase and promote your company’s Employment Brand can reduce turnover by 28% and reduce recruiting expenses as much as 50%.
At the end of the day, once you build an army who believes in and fights for your brand, they become the best advocates for your brand and one of the greatest investments you can make. With the new generation of consumers growing up with social media, they are masters at sniffing out authenticity, and nothing smells more like the real deal than seeing the brand’s own employees living, breathing and loving their brand philosophy.