With over 1 billion Facebook users and more than 200 million LinkedIn and Twitter users, your biggest influencers are your people. And, while we understand the reason why many employers have been hesitant in embracing social media due to potential privacy concerns, we see an even greater risk in not having a strategy.
Your people should be considered another channel when attracting, engaging and retaining talent. Therefore, if you haven’t already, now is the time to develop a plan to engage your people with your talent management strategy. Like it or not, social media is here to stay and will continue to play a big role.
So how should you treat your company’s biggest influencers? We recommend the following:
1. Have a plan on making your company great
2. Build a “Brand Ambassador” program
3. Provide the necessary tools, support and resources
Have a plan on making your company great
Do you measure engagement or trust within your workplace? If you do, how do you communicate the results? Do you know why your employees love working at your organization? Do you know what changes they would like to see? These are questions that we should know the answers to as engagement clearly impacts productivity. Employee engagement is an ongoing commitment and having a clear communication strategy to engage, inspire and inform your employees is critical. If your people are your biggest influencers then it is important that there is a high level of trust and that your influencers are engaged. If your employees are frustrated then this will negatively impact your employer brand.
Build a Brand Ambassador program
We all have brand ambassadors in our organization, but do we know who they are? Have you defined the qualities of brand ambassadors within your organization? Do your incentive and recognition programs reward your brand ambassadors? More and more companies are developing formalized brand ambassador programs as a critical employer branding strategy. Ask yourself, what means more to you when considering a new job opportunity – a great website or an amazing referral from someone who currently works there? By creating a formalized brand ambassador program you can train and develop these employees so that they can act as an extension of your recruitment team.
While it is important for us to know who are brand ambassadors are it is also critical to know who isn’t. Due to the wide reach of social media, we strongly recommend that you do your research so that you fully understand what employees are saying about your organization. Blu Ivy Group can provide a digital and social footprint of your organization so that you are fully aware of what your employees are saying, enabling you to better manage your company reputation.
Tools, Support and Guidelines
If our people are our biggest influences then we need to do what we can to provide them with the necessary tools, support and guidelines so that they can be successful. Every organization should have clear guidelines for employees on social media as well as escalation guidelines when faced with negative feedback. This is absolutely critical to mitigate the potential risk with these sites. Furthermore, training and policies will help employees understand how to manage their personal brand online and how they can best engage with and represent the company brand.
Research has found that employee referrals cost significantly less than other hires and that the quality of the new hire is greater. We encourage all of you to reach out to your people and provide them with reasons to talk positively about your organization as well as provide them with the necessary tools – the ROI will be significant.