Well over a year ago I quoted from an article in the Financial Times that stated “Companies no longer control their employer brand, the conversation is happening away from the company”. It was spot on – no matter how hard we work and how clever we are all we can do is influence the perception of our organisation in the minds of our audience.
I was reminded of the previous blog when I got an invite through to a LinkedIn event in a few weeks’ time. LinkedIn make the argument that if you are recruiting via LinkedIn, and who isn’t (or at least trying to), then one of the key elements of your employment brand on LinkedIn is your existing employees and their profiles.
If your employer brand is, at its simplest, an expression of your culture, values, and purpose and the biggest contributing factor to that expression is the people of the organisation then in stands to reason that actually your employer brand is an expression of your people. So your employer brand is pretty much based on what your audience thinks of your people.
Here’s an experiment for you. Search for a group of people on LinkedIn – I just did CEOs in Ireland in Financial Services. Now look at the first 10 and see how many of them have a LinkedIn profile that would inspire you to join their company. The reality is that unless someone on LinkedIn is a recruiter or trying to market their business then the only time the vast majority seem to update their profile is when they are looking for a job!
The savvy recruiter knows that the first thing many people do when considering a new job is background work on the organisation. Part of that invariably now includes the use of social media and professional networks. Ensuring that your employees are positive about the organisation is just another facet of building your employer brand. Clearly you are not going to insist that they change their personal profile, and certainly with the likes of Facebook and Twitter people do not link themselves to the organisation, however making it easy for them to be positive is a good place to start.
Encouraging employees to update their LinkedIn profile can be as simple as providing a number of short paragraphs about the business that can be used on a profile. Explaining the background to why you want people to update their profiles would also be a good starting point! Leading by example from the senior management down will also help.
Of course many people are hugely wary of promoting their employees on LinkedIn – fearing that they are simply putting them in the shop window for their competitors. But think about it, nobody ever kept their best people by hiding them away – people stay because they are engaged. The reality is that a large number of your employees are already on LinkedIn and in encouraging them to update their profile about what a great organisation they work for you are reinforcing what a great organisation they work for.
Harnessing the power of your employees as advocates or employer brand ambassadors for your organisation is key in attracting not only the skills you need but also candidates with the right cultural fit.