After you've identified your company's Candidate Value Proposition (CVP), it's important to take charge and implement your employer branding plan.
A crucial branding element is generating employment buzz. This motivates your employees to share their enviable work experiences with their friends, via their social media networks.
The influence of employment buzz lies in familiar social media envy and in the appeal to potential applicants - that is, employees' friends and your surrounding community. The Next Web discusses how this can drive brand recognition: when your employees post photos, videos or descriptions of a positive work experience, their social media networks get an infectious whiff of what they could have if they worked for your company.
So how can you produce employment buzz?
The onus is on you, as the employer, to give your employees something to talk about, and to create an environment that prospective hires would want to work at – from a cultural, value-driven and corporate responsibility standpoint. Get your employees so pumped about their workplace that they will naturally want to boast about their experiences to their social networks. To that effect, here are three approaches toward achieving employment buzz in your workplace.
1. Video Challenges
Video challenges provide employees with something tangible to post on their social media statuses, and give you ready-made content to publish on your YouTube channel, career site, and Facebook fan page. It also boosts employee morale and encourages a more unified workforce. It allows your employees to "show off" their creations, and gives you an automatic platform from which to brand your company.
Businesses across the world have embraced this method. One great example is Deloitte’s 2007 employee creative video challenge. And Verint's Israeli branch launched a "Pass the Envelope" challenge last year (the introduction is in Hebrew, but the underlying message speaks for itself). Three minutes worth of employees' clips were edited into one innovative - and inspirational - video.
2. Recreational Events
Office retreats, team-building events and other work-sponsored recreational activities expose employees to a different face of the workplace. These programs get them out of the cubicles and into more informal settings, in which they can engage with their co-workers and managers not as colleagues, but as 'real' people. Away from the copy machines and conference rooms, spending the afternoon playing laser tag instead of updating Excel sheets, employees will naturally want to brag about their experiences to their friends. The best place to reach multiple friends at once are, no surprise, through one’s social media networks. And with mobile access on smartphones, they can easily post status updates and upload photos and video clips at the events themselves.
3. Company's Social Awareness
It’s not always about creating envy to attract people to your company. Often times it is the values that your company upholds. Company-backed charity causes, environmental programs and tolerance campaigns can spur enthusiasm amongst your employees and motivate them to share their experiences with their social media networks. For example, employee participants in Verint's Next Generation Program run in charity marathons, participate in food drives and work with at-risk children. They can use social media to appeal for sponsors, invite their friends to join them, or post video clips of media event coverage ("Hey guys, Channel 4 news covered this awesome food drive my company had – check out my interview at 2:54!"). In addition, programs like these add the appealing feature of social awareness to your company's branding message.
Why should you create employment buzz?
Switching jobs, especially for passive candidates, is a big step. Aside from the obvious considerations of job requirements and salary, candidates want to be sure that their manager-to-be doesn't turn into a fire-breathing dragon every Monday and Wednesday at 11:00 AM. As Kevin Wheeler puts it, candidates want to know that their potential employers genuinely "care for their employees, treat them with respect, [and] provide development and career opportunity." Who better to get the 'real story' from than a company's employees? Employees are objective witnesses to day-to-day activities who will tell it like it is - whether you like it or not. As such, you want to make sure that everything your employees have to say attests to your excellent employment track record.
Creating a positive and exciting work environment strengthens the company culture and encourages employees' work activity. As a recent Gallup report explains, "engaged employees" are simply better workers. Motivated by a company’s high regard for their well-being, these employees are more driven, have higher productivity rates and are less inclined to quit.
Fostering good opinions about your company amongst your employees, and creating enough buzzworthy content that they will want to share their experiences with their social networks, will draw the attention of potential candidates. While it is true that you do not have direct control over what/how/if your employees talk about their work-related experiences on their social media networks, the above examples show that it can be done, and should be encouraged. And in addition to leveraging your employees' social networks, these initiatives also strengthen your internal culture.
Because social media is so fast-paced, and your employees' posts will eventually be replaced on their newsfeeds, be sure to document the videos, photos and employee experiences on your career website. Include short blurbs of the events and first-person employee accounts.
Readers: how has your company created its own employment buzz?