When it comes to your employer brand, your strongest advocates are often the people who live it day-in and day-out—your employees. But wanting a strong employee advocacy presence is one thing. Actually making it happen involves a lot of hard work and strategizing. The benefits of having your team vouch for you, however, are numerous.
“Almost a third of our new hires come through from our own people,” says Erika Cote, a Global Employer Brand Partner at Pegasystems. “We truly believe that top talent knows top talent. If we trust our people and we know the great work that they can do, then they probably know some other people who can do some amazing work as well.”
Social media is a big part of Pegasystems’s strategy, especially around the active #lifeatpega hashtag, and encouraging employees to share on LinkedIn, Instagram, and more. But how do you create a culture where workers will want to recommend you to their friends? And what are the key things that make a big difference to employees?
The past year has illuminated some radical changes in what many people have come to expect from their employer. Everyone was forced to make some serious adaptations to how and where we work, and the extra time around close friends and family has put a renewed focus on work-life balance and flexibility.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, about 70% of workers who say their job responsibilities can mainly be done from home are currently working remotely, up from about 20% before the pandemic. More importantly, over half want to continue doing so after the coronavirus outbreak ends.
“People are hyper-aware of how they’re feeling,” says Cote. “We haven’t always had a very humanistic approach to our work-life balance and what we really need to support ourselves in truly embracing wellness and well-being.”
As many employees are returning to the office or seeking new opportunities, the most important question they ask themselves is simply: Do I feel supported by my company?
“Working in a global organization, you want to make sure that someone sitting in Cambridge and someone sitting in Tokyo both understand what the employer brand is for Pega and that it rings true,” Cote observes. That means that when you’re talking about your employer brand, you want to make sure that you’ve validated those concepts across your organization, bringing in data from every different area, department, and function in which you’re hiring.
Why is authenticity so important? The main reason is because it builds trust. A 2018 study found that roughly 60% of product reviews on Amazon are fake, so it’s no wonder that most people view what businesses are saying about themselves online with a skeptical eye. Authentic, genuine social proof that reflects the values your organization says it holds is worth its weight in gold.
For Pegasystems, a big part of creating a strong employee advocacy culture had to do with lowering the barrier for entry. Like with #lifeatpega, establishing one or two hashtags that your organization “owns” makes it easy for your team to find out what’s happening with their coworkers, and maybe even post something themselves.
Cote and her team have also built out a platform on LinkedIn to centralize all of their employer branding efforts and make it easy for employees to participate. The goal is to make posting about #lifeatpega easy and fun—a conversation you don’t want to miss out on.
They also support senior leadership with dedicated teams in the marketing department to help them navigate the ins and outs of LinkedIn and Instagram. Executive buy-in can often be tricky to achieve, but Cote and her team back up their nudges to be more active on social media with analytics and data to quantify why it’s so important.
As Cote says, “The only people who know why your business is a great place to work are the people who are living it.” Getting them to speak up and actively advocate for your organization is the key to creating an authentic, powerful employer brand.
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