Tag Archives: social media

Employee branding is more important than ever before

What is branding? Most people would think of it as being a company’s logo, or even their strapline or colour palette.

But it’s actually far more than just a series of words and logos.

It’s about every single experience and interaction someone has with your company, be it in your shop, over the phone, on your website, through your newsletter, using your product or service and so on.

It’s no different for your employees. After all, they are the biggest – and potentially the best – advocates for your brand.

Getting your employee branding right will not only help you to build a positive image, internally and externally, but it will also help you to attract and retain the very best talent, which is key to a company’s potential to grow.

To attract and retain the right people, brands today need to work harder than ever before on creating a positive experience for their employees.

If employees are treated in a way that makes them feel valued, trusted, proud and able to make a difference, your company will reap the rewards.

It’s my opinion that the best way to make people feel valued is by recognising and rewarding high-performing employees. Who doesn’t want to be able to feel like they’ve made such an important difference to their company that their work deserves to be recognised?

An employee who feels valued is likely to spread the word about their experience, what makes their workplace unique and why it’s a great place to work. This will make your company a far more attractive proposition to potential talent.

Social media means that brands have had no choice but to adapt, and honesty and transparency are now high on the agenda.

Potential candidates look to the experiences of other employees to make decisions as to whether they trust a company and want to work for it. They certainly don’t base their decisions on recruitment campaigns.

And that’s why getting your branding right internally is equally important to – if not more important than – how you want people to perceive your company internally.

How IC can help you find and hire the best employees

Paul Peters from applicant tracking system Betterteam blogs on how a company’s current employees can be an untapped source of excellent job candidates.

We’re living in one of the toughest hiring climates of all time.

It’s taking a record 29 days to find employees and more job openings are going unfilled than ever before.

But what many companies are failing to realise is that current employees are an untapped source; they can identify the very best candidates for your business.

They can help you reach ‘passive’ candidates who are not yet on the market or who aren’t actively looking for jobs – and who make up about 75 per cent of your potential pool.

Leveraging employees can also give you inside information that helps you find and attract better candidates on LinkedIn and job boards, especially for competitive roles.

How to handle referrals

This is the most obvious, tried and tested way of leveraging current employees to attract new ones.

Many companies reward successful referrals, which may be expected in some industries. For me, this puts the emphasis in the wrong place.

You want employees recommending people not because of a bonus, but because they really want to work with those they’re recommending.

Working with great people improves everyone’s day and makes the company more profitable. In turn, people ideally get paid more, receive more promotions and have more job security.

That said, recognition doesn’t cost a thing and can go a long way towards making an employee happy. If a referral is successful, be sure to thank the referring employee when you announce the new hire.

How should you approach asking for referrals?

At an education startup I once ran, we found many of our best employees by putting out a message via email or Slack, informing employees that we were hiring and which positions we were hiring for.

We would generally ask: Where can we find the best person to do this job? Or: Do you know someone you would love to work with?

I’d also recommend sending employees some pre-written copy that they can post to social media to help put the word out. This is an effective way to reach passive candidates.

If you’re hiring engineers, for example, engineers at your company are likely to have contacts from their past or on social. Even if they aren’t seeking employment, they may see your employee’s post and get in touch.

Leverage employees to win at LinkedIn recruiting

This is a bit more proactive than asking for referrals and a great tactic in tough hiring times.

Talk to your very best hires and ask them about the best teams they’ve ever worked in, and where and when it was. It’s likely that their experience links to a high point at the company they worked for.

Through LinkedIn’s advanced search tool, you’ll be able to find out who else worked there at that time.

Ask your current employees to introduce you to anyone who looks like they might be a good fit. Talk to them about why the potential candidate might like the position and use that when you make contact.

How your employees can help you write killer job postings

If there’s any risk to getting help from your employees with recruiting, it’s becoming too dependent on it.

By failing to post your job elsewhere, you may not reach a diverse enough audience and could miss out on potentially great hires.

But yet again, your current employees can help you succeed, by influencing your job board postings.

Nearly all job postings are the same; they read like a bullet pointed list of demands by the employer. This gives you a terrific opportunity to set yourself apart.

Forget writing out all the possible qualifications and requirements for a job – keep them to a minimum.

Instead, ask current employees what it is about the job, the workplace, their fellow employees and the location of your business that would make someone want to work there. That’s what to include in your job posting.

Potential applicants are like customers you’re trying sell to. A little effort into this part of the recruiting process will reap big rewards.

At Betterteam, we’ve helped several clients rewrite their job postings this way.

After taking this approach to an endodontist position that hadn’t received an applicant in months, the company received two well-qualified applicants within three days, and hired a great employee a short time later.

Don’t let this tough hiring climate hold you back! Improve communication with your employees and let them show you the way to making your next great hire.

Social Chain’s chain reaction of engagement

Kiera Lawlor, Head of Happiness at award-winning social media agency Social Chain, explains how creating engaging campaigns for its clients begins with engaging its own people.

Can you remember your first day at work? Even for the most experienced of us, starting a new job is daunting.

Clammy palms and the panic that you’ll forget your new manager’s name – sound familiar?

But imagine a first day when the whole company comes out to welcome you, and you’re handed a gift box brimming with tech and goodies. That’s what Sean Brown, Head of Talent, discovered when he arrived at Social Chain.

Captioning a photo of his new MacBook, social media bible, branded hoodie, stationary and a bottle of rum to toast his arrival, Sean took to LinkedIn to write: “I think I’m going to enjoy myself here.”

But the welcome pack is just the beginning when it comes to how the agency looks after its people.

The Manchester-based company launched in 2014 when co-founders Steve Bartlett and Dominic McGregor set out to help companies reach their consumers.

Today Social Chain has a reach of more than a billion, counts Apple, Spotify, and Puma among its clients, and can get a brand trending in minutes.

Its motto is ‘Deeper than engagement’ – out to create projects that resonate with people and inspire them into action.

Social Chain

But the company firmly believes this begins by engaging its own team – and that’s the responsibility of Kiera Lawlor, Head of Happiness.

“I think engagement is a key thing in the workplace,” says Kiera. “If we’re engaged in our own professional environment, we’re better placed to help brands to engage their consumers.

“It’s any employer’s dream to have staff who get up in the morning and want to go to work, and that’s genuinely how people feel here.”

But how has Social Chain created its highly motivated environment? Kiera and the team have created a programme that hones in on people’s happiness and individuality at all stages of their employment – and it starts at the recruitment stage.

Kiera said: “One of the massive things we look for when hiring is whether someone’s going to fit in with the culture. They might not be the most experienced at what they do, but we’d rather have their personality and what they can add to the team than someone who’s experienced but doesn’t share the same enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is key.”

Selecting passionate employees is one thing, but it’s another to maintain that same level of drive in the months and years that follow.

Kiera has this covered too: “We all have personal development programmes. I sit down with new starters and find out what they want to learn about and what we can do to make it happen. We call them Happiness Meetings. If a person has a development idea, they can chase it – no one will ever turn around and say no here.”

Team members also share their own knowledge at weekly Lunch and Learn sessions. Over a meal put on by Social Chain, employees take it in turns to give presentations on a hobby or skill they’re using to benefit their work.

And that’s not the only time there’s food in the office. Social Chain understands that well-fed employees are happy employees, so the kitchen is restocked twice a week with croissants and cereals, snacks, lunch options and – best of all – bacon sandwiches to banish the thought of Monday-morning blues.

Whether it’s National Gin Day or National Cupcake Day, Kiera keeps on top of all reasons for the team to celebrate together.

“I want to make sure there’s always something going on to keep it exciting,” she said.

And what with a fully stocked bar, a slide and ball pit, and French Bulldogs Louis and Pablo wandering freely between the benches, Social Chain hasn’t just created a workplace; it’s built a creative playground.

But it’s about more than just having fun. Playing hard lends itself to something else – working hard. And Social Chain’s people certainly do lots of that.

“We have barely any recorded sick days. Holidays are unlimited – we can take as many as we want – but because people love being here, they don’t abuse that. It’s just nice to know we’re trusted to get on with our work and get it finished.”

It’s down to this hard work that Social Chain has thrived so much in such a short period of time. In just over a year, the team has gone from 15 people to 74.

The business has also recently opened offices in Berlin and New York.  By looking after its people, its people are delivering amazing projects for their clients, and these clients are propelling the business forward. Social Chain has created a thriving chain reaction – and it all begins with engagement.

Kiera said: “Employee engagement here means that everyone’s dream is to see the company get as big as it can possibly get. Everyone is so invested in Social Chain. They want to see it grow.”



Guest blog: Employees need to be brand advocates in a digital world

Julia Brook, Director of PR Services at Lea Barn Consultancy, explains why embracing digital means businesses must safeguard their reputation with employees – not just external customers.

In today’s social media-driven world, organisations are more exposed than ever before.

Gone are the days when bad news could be buried and unethical corporate behaviour swept under the carpet. In the digital economy, businesses face higher levels of scrutiny from customers, colleagues, prospective employees, shareholders and stakeholders alike.

Companies of all sizes – and in every industry – have to be accountable for what they say and do, with instances of unethical or unjust behaviour managed proactively rather than reactively. Just ask Donald Trump.

So while there is a huge opportunity and, indeed, imperative for organisations to invest in and benefit from new communication platforms, a focus on reputational risk must be a priority.

This has obvious implications for internal communications and employee relations. Research from Accenture Strategy found that 60 per cent of employees publicly share information about their rewards, salaries and opinions of their manager’s performance on social media sites.

Similarly, websites like glassdoor.co.uk have risen to prominence, enabling professionals to share reviews on the best and worst companies to work for, as well as compare salaries and experiences.

Such sites have the potential to impact your brand not only with potential employees but also customers whom are likely to make purchase decisions based on reputation. The media furore over zero-hours contracts and backlash again Sports Direct springs to mind.

Internal communications takes on new importance in this environment. If organisations truly care about attracting and retaining the top talent, it’s vital they:

• Are in tune with their workforce
• Communicate relevant and honest information on a regular basis
• Have the overall aim of ensuring employees become brand advocates in the same way as external customers.

It’s also important that the workforce is your first port of call when crisis hits. Bearing in mind the speed of social media, internal communications have a key role to play in keeping employees informed about what has happened and what is happening.

When corporate reputation is on the line, speedy internal communications are now as important as preparing external statements. Employees should not have to read about bad news on social media before receiving the official (and honest) version of events from the senior team.

So while digital provides exciting opportunities for all organisations, we shouldn’t forget that it also needs careful management.

Companies aren’t able to hide, so they have to be open and honest with their employees – great internal process and dedicated communications platforms will mean an external crisis or threat to corporate reputation need not also be an internal one.