Companies are increasingly investing in employer branding to attract better candidates, and for good reason: Organizations that invest in employer branding are three times more likely to hire quality candidates. To attract qualified talent today, you know that your company’s reputation as an employer can make or break your hiring goals. With employer reputation playing such a critical role in a candidate’s decision, it’s time to prioritize two strategies: finding employer brand advocates to help you get the word out and implementing an employer branding advocacy tool to manage the process.
In today’s tight talent market, strong employer branding equates to strong talent attraction, making a solid business case for prioritizing tools that help improve your brand. And the benefits aren’t limited to your recruiting efforts. A majority (72%) of recruiting leaders say employer brand impacts hiring substantially, but may have an even bigger effect on overall business success.
The trouble is, most HR professionals struggle to get a read on how their company culture looks from the outside, and even the strongest employer brand always has lots of room for improvement. Among all the strategies you might consider implementing to strengthen employer branding, activating your employees should top the list because they are your most valuable asset in convincing candidates to consider joining your organization.
Employer branding advocacy tools (also sometimes called employee advocacy tools, since they increase employee engagement, too) can help you motivate employees to spread the word, make it easy for them to do so and even reward them for their efforts. Here’s a look at the features in employer brand advocacy tools that can help you engage your workforce and advance your employer branding efforts.
What are brand advocacy tools?
In corporate marketing, a brand advocate is a person who helps promote a company’s product or service and is usually a customer. Essentially, brand advocates were the original influencers (before there were YouTube stars). In recruiting, an employer brand advocate promotes the company as an employer and is usually an employee of the company.
Corporate brand advocacy tools help marketers to manage and oversee promotional activities with their influencers, and help marketers to plan, execute and evaluate branding strategies over time. Employer brand advocacy tools are emerging in Recruitment Marketing and hold the same promise. They typically revolve around sharing pre-approved content on social networks. This enables employees to tell their stories, via text or video, and then easily share that content across their personal social media accounts. Some employer branding advocacy tools even allow employees to interact directly with candidates, so their shared experiences can help build trust and improve candidate engagement throughout the recruiting process.
Here are some of the key features most employer branding advocacy tools offer.
Key feature #1: Tools to measure your employer brand
You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. For employer branding, that starts with measurement of the sentiments and reputation that is already out there in the world. Employer branding tools can help you conduct internal research, through employee surveys and employee resource groups, to find out what current employees think of your company. Many of the same tools can also help you perform external research, such as social listening, applicant surveys and employer reviews, to paint a picture of how the rest of the world sees your employer brand, so that you can build your strategy going forward.
Key feature #2: Easy ways to share company and employee stories
So much of employer branding is about getting the word out — whether that’s to combat inaccurate sentiments and set the record straight or build a brand where little or none exists. Employer branding tools that make it easy for employees to share brand stories can help you strengthen your brand faster, and enlist help in doing so. This would include tools to help you add employee stories (text, video or other formats) to your careers page, social media channels and your company profile on job sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, kununu and others. When thinking specifically about your employee advocates, simple sharing is crucial because people trust a company’s employees more than its CEO by a significant margin, according to The Edelman Trust Barometer.
Key feature #3: Tools that collect and analyze data
Data is king in marketing, and any employer branding tool worth its license fee should offer features to evaluate data and turn it into valuable insights. Once you have a data-informed picture of how your employer brand is being promoted, you can get to work creating a company culture profile that aligns your employer brand with the corporate brand (ideally, in collaboration with your marketing team). From there, you can create a plan to measure progress over time to strengthen your employer brand or, if it’s already solid, to maintain its health. Employer branding tools can help you keep your finger on the pulse of your employer brand and evaluate the results of your efforts so that you can recalibrate your strategy along the way.
Key feature #4: Advocates for your employer brand
Your employer brand advocacy strategy doesn’t work without advocates! A tool is only as good as its users, so you not only need to identify advocates and get them committed to help, but then turn them into regular users of the employer branding advocacy tool. Look for tools that are easy to use and motive or incentivize employees to keep advocating on your behalf.
Here’s a list of vendors that provide employer branding advocacy tools, in alphabetical order:
Rally note: For an updated list of tools (as of 2021), check out blog post 12 Tools to Boost Your Employee Advocacy Program.
Once you decide to leverage your most valuable recruitment marketers — your employees — implementing an employee advocacy tool can help you engage and activate your champions and track how the reach of your employer brand grows.