You’ve probably heard of employer branding and followed the steps to building a strong employer brand, but what exactly is “employee branding”? How is it different from employer branding?
To put it simply: employee branding involves presenting the company in the best possible light to employees, candidates, stakeholders, and customers.
What is Employee Branding?
A good starting point for a more detailed definition of employee branding is to think of it as a question: “How is your company perceived by current and potential employees?” Organizations with a positive employee brand often have an engaged, motivated workforce that’s willing to advocate for the company’s brand, products, and services.
In other words, it’s about getting employees on board with the values that your brand stands for and the type of business your company engages in. When done correctly, this translates to employees organically talking about the brand through word of mouth and social advocacy.
How Can Employee Branding Help Your Company?
Employee branding efforts just affect staff retention and customers; it’s a main driver for attracting candidates and prospects who are looking for differentiators across similar offerings.
Organizations with a strong employee brand have employees who are also powerful brand ambassadors. They help improve employee loyalty, contribute to solid brand reputation management, and attract and secure the right talent.
Today’s most successful brands are implementing “employee branding” programs to accompany employees — including members of the C-suite and leadership team — on their digital journeys and help them communicate on social media.
On the whole, however, employees display very low brand engagement on social media, in many situations not following or “liking” the company’s pages on social media sites.
This is where employee branding comes in. The objective is to be able to guide or shape employee behavior so that people who work for the company can effectively and creatively project the brand identity of the organization through their work, public, and social media behavior.
Employee Branding Program: Getting Started
An increasing number of executives are becoming interested in how employee branding can achieve a competitive advantage. Here are some important considerations to make if you’re just getting started:
Teach Employees About Your Brand
The first step is to create, teach, and instill the brand message in the minds of your employees.
Naturally, this message must be a positive and compelling message that employees can associate with, making them more likely to identify with your organization.
This step might be the most important to your employee branding efforts. Without team buy-in your employee branding won’t be authentic and it will even be more difficult to get the talent and customers needed for long-term success.
Conduct Brand Training
Employee branding requires processes like brand education and interface training. These are designed to teach your employees how to represent the brand through their behavior and create structured opportunities to practice representing the brand and become ambassadors. Uniformity is vital to employee branding messaging efforts so that those hearing about your brand externally don’t get mixed messages.
Drive Organizational Communication
With current and new employees, it’s important to keep talking about what your organization is all about. Your messages should clearly, frequently, and consistently convey the organization’s mission, values, and desired brand image. Set expectations and improve the clarity on each employees role through internal communications, human resource activities, initiatives, and informal social events.
Fine-tune Hiring and Recruitment
It’s difficult to turn employees into brand ambassadors if your hiring and recruitment processes don’t attract the right people in the first place.
By proactively managing and monitoring your employer brand with reputation management software, you can easily listen to and address feedback coming from employees. In turn, this allows for accurate and specific job previews, and a better commitment to grow your organization by selecting the right people for the job.
Listen to Employee Feedback
The employer-employee feedback loop is a critical component of the employee branding process.
Thanks to the rise of business review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed.com, more employees are making their voices heard through reviews. They’re rating their interview and employee experiences. They’re sharing details of their working lives and expressing their feelings about their CEOs and leadership team with a thumbs up or thumbs down (or smileys or frowns).
When employees share their thoughts in their own words, you have an incredible opportunity to listen in, respond, and take action in ways that help your business grow. By using custom experience analytics software you can gain further insights from each piece of feedback which can reveal trends about numerous employee-facing processes.
Not only is employer brand monitoring essential for staff retention and the development of high-potential employees; it also enables your organization to monitor the processes you have in place and identify areas for improvement.
Employer brand monitoring does not have to be a manual task that involves dedicating sheer manpower to reading through employee reviews and feedback. Using the right online reputation management software allows for easy management of employee feedback and brand reputation, both of which can streamline the recruitment process and increase employee retention.
Employee Experience is Key to Great Employee Branding
Focus on creating an environment where all employees feel like they have a stake in sharing and communicating the brand message.
Launch initiatives that improve retention, increase employee satisfaction, and foster a culture based on candid feedback sharing, transparency, and open communication. Remember: engaged, motivated employees are more likely to become brand ambassadors than employees who aren’t invested in the company’s success.