Dec 9, 2019 | Clare Chiappetta, MA, HRCI Contributing Writer
How to Create Brand Champions at Your Organization
When you think of your employer brand, you may first envision reviews on Indeed or Glassdoor. But your employer brand affects far more than just hiring — candidates and employees are also potential customers. And when they have positive experiences with your company, they become influencers. If those experiences are bad, they can have lasting negative effects on your bottom line.
You can’t just pull a positive employer brand out of thin air, says Susan Strayer LaMotte, CEO at Exaqueo. “Your brand is what it is,” she says. “If your brand attributes don’t match what you want them to be, then you need to be strategic and work to change those.”
Here are three ways you can create an employer brand you’re proud of and turn your employees into brand champions.
Practice Employee Journey Mapping
The first step to facilitating the employer brand you want is understanding where you are now. But you’re unlikely to know what your authentic employer brand is unless you facilitate independent research — and the “independent” part is critical. “You can conduct your own research, but employees are never going to be completely honest with either HR or their bosses,” LaMotte says.
It’s time to apply marketing principles to employee research. Journey mapping, the process used to understand a business through a consumer’s eyes, is an excellent practice for understanding the employee experience. “The biggest mistake we've made over the years is that we look at the employee journey through the company lens,” LaMotte says. “It’s time for HR to understand what the authentic employee experience is actually like.”
Embrace the Journey
What if the employee experience doesn’t match the attributes you want the world to see? That’s OK, as long as you embrace it. “If the experience doesn't match what you're putting out into the world, you've actually eroded your brand — not enhanced it,” says Alyssa Krane, chief talent strategist at Powerhouse Talent.
Instead of pretending your organization is at a stage that it hasn’t reached, Krane suggests being honest and incorporating the journey your organization is on into the brand. “With every hire you get closer to this destination that you're trying to achieve,” she says. “Market the employer brand as ‘We need these innovators, these visionaries, these people with resilience and tenacity to help get us there.’”
This honest positioning will attract the type of people you need to take your brand to the next level.
Empower Employees to Tell Their Stories
Once you have your employer brand nailed down, you have to send that message out to the world. But how? By giving your employees the tools and the freedom they need to become a brand champion. Set the strategy and empower your employees to tell their own stories. “Those brand ambassadors will have ways to share their story that you may never have even dreamed of,” Krane says. “Your employees aren’t just cogs in the system — they can play a role in the ideation process around content creation.”
To maintain consistency, have an HR liaison receive employee content submissions. But don’t put any limits on your employees’ creativity — they might pioneer new ways to become brand champions.