When it comes to corporate communications, a lot of companies have operated with the principle of “central command”, with pre-approved key messages, predetermined spokespeople, and heavy emphasis on consistency of voice.
What those companies always seemed to miss was the fact that unless you have a staff and volunteer force consisting entirely of robots, there’s only so much control you can exert over your brand. People talk to each other. And often, when someone says, “I work for XYZ Company”, the immediate response will be, “Cool. How do you like it there?” The answer to that question, whatever it is, is not going to contain key messaging.
Some companies are terrified by the idea of not having 100% control over the message. But smart companies? They welcome it. Why? Because they know that the authentic voices of employees are the most powerful employer branding tool that exists.
Employees’ Voices = Authenticity
Think about it: if a bright and qualified prospect wants to know what it’s like to work for your company, are they going to contact the head of HR or the CEO? Not even close. They’re going to get online and scour the internet for any snippet that current and former employees have written about what it’s like to work there. In fact, the average job seeker spends up to 2 hours researching a company before hitting “send” on an application. And they don’t want key messages; they want authentic viewpoints and reviews.
Smart companies know this. And that’s why they’re throwing their resources and support behind authentic and employee-voiced employer branding. By making it easy for prospects to learn who’s who in your company, what their day is like, who they work with, and what their joys and challenges are, you’re exponentially increasing the odds of attracting the kind of people who will fit your corporate culture to a tee. They’re profiling their employees’ stories on their careers page, their homepage, their social media and more. Because they know that authentic voices carry weight, and that they’re the key to attracting applicants who will be a perfect fit.
Why Employer Branding Matters
We’ve all experienced the frustration of hiring someone who was great on paper, but just wasn’t a great fit. Maybe you pride yourself on running a family-friendly business, and hired a manager who always kept people late and was a devotee of “crunch time”, making everybody miserable. Or maybe your shop works hard and then parties hard together, and had a skilled person quit because they were constantly late for daycare pickup. By featuring your staff and their stories front and center, potential applicants will get an excellent picture of your values and your vibe as a company. And they’ll either be drawn in or turned off. If they’re drawn in, they’re the kind of people who will mesh well with your team, who will appreciate your values, and who will stick around for the long-haul. And if they’re turned off? Then you’ve just saved them and yourself a lot of time and frustration, and have reduced the risk of costly turnover.
So don’t be afraid to pass the mic to your staff. In fact, maybe it’s time to turn your mic into a megaphone and reap the benefits, both short-term and for years to come.