The Science Behind Building Brand Ambassadors & Candidate Applications (Part 3)

Check out part 1 and part 2 of our brand ambassador series on the blog. 

So, if you read the first two parts of the series, you are well on your way to understanding brand evangelism and identifying your best brand ambassadors. You have begun to think about how this is all related to your recruiting and employee retention efforts and you have probably started on some strategies. In part three, let’s discuss some practical approaches you can take to implementing a brand evangelism campaign around your talent acquisition programs.

Going Back to Recruiting and Employment Branding Basics

As the old saying goes, it’s impossible to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Similarly, it is hard to tell a glowing story about a company that is a nightmare to work with and for. The first step in creating good brand evangelism is to create a good brand. The certainty must start with actual positive hiring and employment practices and it has to be communicated at every level of the company.

Without this, you may be able to create the illusion you want and even get recruits through the door, but sooner or later, word of mouth will work for or against you. Whether you orchestrate it or not, if you have more than a small handful of employees, there is already a story being told.

Effective Employment Branding is Driven by the Employees

At its core, this is their story. No amount of policy, NDAs or “spin” can really change what that means. If your campaign is to be successful, you need to incentivize your workforce and put them in the driver’s seat. It needs to be organic, not programmed, or forced in any way. Automation and control take this out of the realm of word of mouth and into the realm of advertising, with a directly resulting loss of effectiveness.

With your employees as the centerpiece, your campaign can tell the story from the right perspective, and will address the issues your candidates are most likely to be concerned with. So, how do you guarantee that they hit the points you want them to? You don’t. Simply stated, this needs to be an organic effort to tell real positive stories about what it really means to be a part of your brand and why others should consider signing on. Let them share the benefits of working for you that have meant the most to them. This is what employment branding really is. 

What Brand Ambassador Programs Looks Like

As managers, this idea may bring a flutter of panic, but relax. After all, we are not talking about giving them your job to do, just allowing them to share their own experiences in their own words. By providing them with structured outlets for this, and maintaining some editorial control, enough safeguards can be put in place, while still giving them ownership.

  • Job referral programs: By rewarding your employees for successful hiring recommendations, you can turn your entire workforce into a recruitment team. This is a base line, mostly passive employee referral program.
  • Open houses and job fairs: By allowing your employees to represent your organization at events like this, you give the public the opportunity to engage with more than just those who are typically the public face. Encourage them to invite friends and family who might be good candidates for employment.
  • Employee generated media: Employee written blogs on company websites, video testimonials and other employee created media assets help tell your story in a way that resonates with candidates.

By opening up your recruiting process and giving employees ownership of driving the content, you can create a narrative that relates directly with job seekers. This in turn can lead to a better understanding of company culture among candidates, leading to successful hires, increased employment longevity and a better match between employees and company culture.

Check out part 1 and part 2 of our brand ambassador series on the blog. 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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