Traditionally, the CEO has played the role of company evangelist. In fact, having a single company representative was perfect for a broadcast, one-way method of information dissemination. However, with the rise of social media and the corresponding call for authenticity, having the CEO assume the role of evangelist is no longer necessary or even desirable. Just as most consumers are mistrustful of direct advertising, there is also an increasing likelihood that statements from your CEO may be discounted regardless of veracity. So, if you can’t rely on your CEO, who can your company depend on to effectively spread the word about the merits of your organization?
In my opinion, I believe one of the most underutilized resources within most companies is current employees. Current employees who passionately believe in the strategic direction of the company can be some of your best evangelists. Many of these employees know your company inside and out, and thus have the knowledge base to credibly speak on a wide range of topics. In fact, your target audience may be better able to connect with current employees as opposed to a larger-than-life CEO (think Steve Jobs).
As the Social Web gains greater and greater prominence, leveraging a large group of internal employees to represent your employment brand is smart business sense. Prospective candidates can not only connect with someone that has a similar background and career goals, but it also gives current employees the opportunity to help improve the competitive advantage of your organization (a win-win-win). The resources required to provide this type of high-touch connection to prospective candidates is impossible for the recruiting team to handle independently. And, why should they? If a prospective candidate is seeking a position in engineering, finance, marketing, or operations; it makes sense to connect with someone already within that functional group.
Now, I know some are thinking that if candidates are given the opportunity to connect with current employees that this priviledge will be abused. While this is certainly possible, there are also ways of using technology to ensure that only pre-screened candidates are given access to employees. So, why don't more organizations give prospective candidates an opportunity to connect with current employees?