Your employees are your brand: it’s as simple as that. You’ve likely heard this message time and time again, but are you doing anything about it?
Whether you like it or not, your employees have lives outside work and are walking, talking representations of your brand. They’re leaving reviews on Glassdoor, chatting to friends over brunch and happy hour about work, and attending events on your company’s behalf. So, take advantage of these moments and build brand ambassadors.
What is a brand ambassador?
“Brand ambassador” has become quite the buzzword – but what does it mean? According to Forbes, brand ambassadors are “employees who are thoroughly engaged, connected and committed.”
Part of recruiting brand ambassadors has to do with how connected your employees feel to your organization. If your employees understand their role in helping your company succeed and feel inspired to help build your brand, your overall recruiting and branding efforts will profit.
Taking the plunge: recruiting brand ambassadors
It can be daunting to build an internal army of brand ambassadors. But, engaging your employees and encouraging them to champion your brand will save you money in the long run. Increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year, according to the Workplace Research Foundation.
So, now you know how crucial it is to build brand ambassadors, but how do you actually go about it? Here are five quick tips to inspire your employees to become brand ambassadors:
1. Encourage them.
Just as your sales org needs a vote of confidence at the end of a tough quarter, your employees need encouragement to stay motivated and champion your brand. Companies that foster brand ambassadors see a 67% increase in employees who actively advocate for their company (Workplace Research Foundation).
Let your employees know how much you value their help and encourage them to be their true selves both at work and at home. Building brand ambassadors won’t be successful if you force your employees to fit a certain mold or tell only one side of the story – employees need to tell the honest truth about why they love their jobs and what could improve.
To do this, host training sessions and encourage your employees to spread your company’s mission through their social media networks and to their friends and family. This sense of community will motivate them to help out!
2. Communicate the importance.
Once you encourage your employees to represent your company, communicate why you need them to advocate for your brand. Let them know the percentage of your company’s hires that come through employee referrals – this will help them understand how referrals impact your entire business. If your employees understand the importance and influence of brand ambassadors, they will be more willing to aid you. This will also lead to more employees helping with the workload.
3. Incentivize them.
While many employees may be happy to help you out solely for the good of the brand, others may need extra incentive to promote your brand.
At Glassdoor, our employee referral bonus program pays employees a lump sum after 90 days if a referral of theirs works out and lands a position. While many of our employees are happy to help anyway, a financial gain can be the push some need to get on board.
Note: this doesn’t have to be expensive! Build your programs around what you can afford. Even if all you can offer is swag, employees will appreciate the thought. Additionally, internal contests are a great (and free!) way to bring employees together and recognize individual winners or teams.
4. Train them.
If you’re hesitant to let your employees speak, tweet and post on your behalf, train them! Host company training sessions about social media best practices and how employees can best spread the company message.
At Glassdoor, we host a social media 101 training where we detail what employees can and can’t share on social media and directions for auto-sharing new job openings to their social networks. This helps employees understand their part in the recruiting and branding big picture.
5. Make it easy.
Remember, your employees are busy doing their jobs. They probably won’t help out if it means a big time commitment. So, make things easy to understand, host training sessions and have a point person who can answer questions. The simpler you make it for employees to lend a hand, the better your chances of earning their help.
Why brand ambassadors matter
Ultimately, brand ambassadors are the backbone of any solid employer brand. Enlist your employees to boost your recruiting and branding efforts! For more information, check our eBook, 5 Employee Engagement Strategies from Glassdoor Best Places to Work Winners.