HR Corner

Tips to Make Employees Your Brand Ambassadors

Have you watched GE’s employer branding ad?

The ad shows two friends talking about new jobs that both of them have landed – one at GE and the other at another company. Both are talking about the kind of work that they would be doing.

The idea behind the ad was to send a dual message:

  1. From an employer brand standpoint, the ad aims to position GE as a company where young techies do meaningful work.
  2. From the customer perspective, GE wants to let the customers know that they only recruit professionals that do valuable, cutting-edge work.

Not all companies can have large advertising budgets and marketing teams to create ads like GE. But one thing every company has is – employees. Now imagine if employees of a company became its brand ambassadors? Employees are, in one way, already carriers of a company’s brand image. 

Whether it’s at dinner with friends, when meeting new people at social gatherings, catching up with family or ex-colleagues, people often talk about their current work, new projects, the company that they work with and the products or services of the company. The way people talk about their companies creates an impression of the brand on the other people. 

Thus, it only makes sense if organizations make some effort and create brand ambassadors out of their own employees. Let’s look at some simple ways in which organizations could do this.

The company vision – a good place to begin

The Centre for Creative Leadership simplifies the definition of vision and the need to communicate it as, Vision describes some achievement or future state that the organization wants to accomplish. A vision has to be shared in order to do what it is meant to do – which is inspire, clarify and focus the work.”

Here are a few tips that Harvard Business Review shares about communicating the vision to teams:

  • Understand the team first. What is their current understanding of the organization, and how can you help make their lives better.
  • Think about the ‘why’ – a motivator that would lead your team to understand and accept the company vision.
  • Convert vision into action. Point your team in the right direction so that they can take action.
  • Connect the dots to the employees. Think about what’s in the company vision for the employees. It is emotions that drive people to act.

Share trivia and facts about the company with the employees

At Nokia, the HR executives ensure that all the employees know interesting trivia and facts about the company and its products because they encourage their employees to talk about the company on social media. So, employees know that a Kenyan man bought Nokia’s billionth mobile phone and that Nokia’s first product was rubber books. Not just that, the management of the company ensures that all employees are  acquainted with the brand progress and encourages them to take ownership of the company. How does this help? It projects a good impression of the company and the engagement levels of its employees when they talk about the company with others.

Create an employee brand ambassador program

Employees can be the best advocates of a company and its products. Companies like Adobe, GE, and Coca Cola, among others, have employee brand ambassador programs. And you could start a program in your company with the help of the HR department. Here’s what you could do to start off a formal program:

  • Measure your employees’ engagement quotient. If employees aren’t engaged, it is unlikely that your program would be a success.
  • Identify the group of employees that are interested and engaged. Make them a part of the program.
  • Gather their inputs and suggestion for putting together a compelling brand advocacy strategy.
  • You could begin by sharing a weekly email that has key content and pieces about the company, which this group of employees could share on different online platforms.
  • Similarly, employees themselves could come up with ideas and strategies to make the program a success. 

Develop an exceptional employee experience

Gallup points to the need for communicating a winning employment value proposition in order to attract and retain great talent. Today, employees expect a lot from their jobs: opportunities for growth, work-life balance, job security, and personal wellbeing. According to Gallup, “Meeting those expectations through an engaging employee experience validates the brand image that attracts people to you and, after on boarding, sustains their engagement.”

An article in Forbes extends this idea to connecting the Personal and the Corporate. Employees that are clear about what makes them valuable to the company and have clarity about the company’s brand objectives can apply their unique skills to activate the corporate goals.

Practice honesty and transparency

Transparency, as a tool, has immense power. Today, job seekers, customers and all kinds of stakeholders practice greater discretion, before they engage with an organization. That’s when transparency can make a great difference. A large number of job seekers use platforms like Glassdoor, to know more about a company culture even before applying to a job vacancy. 

Transparency within the organization can be practiced in several ways:

  • Let your employees be aware of the issues in the office. Alongside, let them know the organization’s plans to tackle the issues.
  • Let your employees know that, as an organization, you value transparency and honesty.

How does this help create employee brand ambassador, you might wonder. It ensures that all your employees are on the same page, share common ideas about the company and all of them will have similar things to say about the company, which makes your employer branding even stronger.

So, how do you envision your employee brand ambassadors to advocate your company?