Employer brand – your company’s reputation as a place to work – goes beyond impacting recruitment efforts. It’s an essential facet of your overall corporate reputation and can even influence consumers’ purchasing decisions.
You may think a satisfied workforce translates into a strong workplace reputation, but employee experience and employer brand aren’t always aligned. And that disconnect can come down to your communications.
However, employee brand ambassadors can help bridge the gap.
Engaging your employees as brand ambassadors can be one of the most powerful methods for improving public perceptions of your company’s workplace culture and managing your reputation.
What is an Employee Brand Ambassador?
A brand ambassador is an employee who promotes a company’s employer brand to their personal networks, usually via social media. As a prerequisite, they often have substantial social followings and online conduct that aligns with the brand’s values.
Traditionally, brand ambassadors were “influencers” – usually celebrities or individuals with significant name recognition – unaffiliated with the company they were paid to endorse (think Kiera Knightley and Chanel).
But rather than using prominent figures as they do for product endorsements, companies often turn to employees to advocate on behalf of their workplace culture.
Why Recruit Employees as Advocates?
Communications teams should recruit employees as advocates because audiences view employees as authentic and trustworthy sources of insight into their company’s mission, values, and ethics.
Stephanie Genin, Global Vice President of Enterprise Marketing at Hootsuite, explains that “brands are seeing value in influencer marketing because consumers are more influenced by an authentic, human communication than by corporate jargon.”
Not only does the public have more trust in perceived “normal” people, but the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 53% of all global audiences view employees as the most credible source of information when forming an opinion of a company. Another 78% agreed that “how a company treats its employees is one of the best indicators of its level of trustworthiness.”
In other words, employees are one of your most valuable resources for managing your workplace reputation.
Create an Employee Brand Ambassador Program
Consider engaging employees as brand ambassadors an element of your internal communications strategy.
And by launching an employee brand ambassador program, you can more effectively mobilize employee advocates to deliver the key messages that support your communications objectives.
Here are three ways to build a program optimized for impact:
Assess Your Employer Brand
Implementing an employee brand ambassador program is an opportunity to evaluate and understand your existing employer brand.
You must assess two aspects of your employer brand: employee experience and workplace reputation.
Research your company’s employee experience on employee review sites like Glassdoor and social media platforms. For real-time feedback and suggestions for improvement, you can hold focus groups or conduct an employee feedback survey to assess your existing workplace culture.
Suppose it becomes evident your employees are unsatisfied with your company as an employer. This may be the place to start – by fostering a positive workplace environment and recognizing employee achievements – before recruiting ambassadors.
Alternatively, if your research indicates your company has successfully established a positive workplace culture, you can utilize this data to pinpoint your company’s strengths and identify themes for your ambassadors to highlight.
To evaluate your external workplace reputation, you can use reputation polls or corporate reputation rankings to gain insight into public perceptions of your company as a place to work.
You can also use media analytics for a nuanced understanding of how the media covers your brand on various workplace reputational drivers that shape public opinions of your company culture.
Analyzing the data on your company’s workplace reputation against its employee experience will reveal any misalignment between the two and the workplace topics that could benefit most from your employee endorsements.
The value of employee endorsements resides in their personal experiences with the company and their willingness to advocate on behalf of the brand. Accordingly, enlisting brand ambassadors on a volunteer basis is crucial to the authenticity at the crux of their support.
Not only do audiences view employees as more trustworthy sources of information on a brand, but an authentic employee endorsement of your company as a workplace is one of the most impactful methods of verifying and reinforcing your desired employer reputation.
Ramp up your internal communications and provide your team with frequent updates on company news and employee achievements, along with tools to simplify social sharing.
Encourage employees to take ownership of personal and company accomplishments by highlighting their role in successes and output. When employees are invested in their work and recognized for their performance, they will be more inclined to share positive company news with their social networks.
Take Control of Your Workplace Reputation
Engaging your employees as a part of your communications strategy will make your workplace messages more credible and ultimately improve public perceptions of your company culture.
At PublicRelay, we measure your workplace reputation as it’s represented in media coverage and on employee review sites, including Glassdoor and Indeed. With this insight, you can better understand your current reputation and benchmark your performance and the impact of your employee ambassador program in influencing your public perceptions of your brand. Start improving your workplace reputation now!