Virgin Group founder Richard Branson once said, “Train people well enough so they can leave; treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” That sentiment makes some business owners squirm — why prep new hires to become attractive recruits for competitors? But it’s sound advice and speaks volumes to the value of employee branding.
Most executive branding initiatives focus on the C-suite, and that can yield incredible results. But prospects don’t only want to hear from the CEO. Sure, investing in your employees’ brands will put them on your competitors’ radar. But if you support employees and treat them well, they’ll be more likely to stick around and help your company grow.
Speaking engagements and conferences serve as great one-off opportunities to increase personal brand visibility for your employees. But encouraging employees to contribute content can leverage their brands repeatedly, conserving resources while building an ongoing relationship with your community.
Your team members are in the best position to educate current clients, prospects, and future employees about your culture. Here are five advantages of employee branding through content:
It’s not enough for your executive team to have visibility and respect. Your employees should also become recognized thought leaders as well, and content presents the best opportunity to achieve that goal. When you position your employees as thought leaders, brand engagement will explode, translating into prestige and authority for your company.
Content helps your team build rapport with customers and guide them through the sales process. Consumers feel more connected to a brand when they hear from the people behind it. They gain confidence when they can interact directly with staff members who author the articles they enjoy and share, and this trust will expedite the sales process.
People demand authentic interactions from brands. We’re seeing that play out more and more, with platforms such as LinkedIn and Medium encouraging individuals, not just brands, to publish their insights.
That’s why Influence & Co. invites input from team members throughout the company. We want our community to know who we are as individuals and as a brand. Buffer is another company that publishes content from multiple members of its organization, not just the CEO. These personalized posts put a human face on a growing company that raised $3.5 million last year. When you give employees a voice, you’re building a trusted and accessible brand.
Current employees are your greatest assets for attracting top-notch talent. You want prospective job candidates to seek out your brand because their values align with your brand’s values. Employees can communicate these values through content to help find the right matches.
Let your employees write about work life behind the scenes, and you’ll start funneling in applicants who belong on your team. After linking to articles in our job descriptions, traffic to our careers page shot up 200 percent. When new hires have already read informative company content, they can hit the ground running.
I recently spoke to a leader of Midwest contractor Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc. about the company’s rapid growth. He was concerned about keeping company culture intact while expanding, and I suggested developing content to educate the company’s community. By creating content that explains its values and philosophy, the company won’t lose the sense of what makes it unique, and new hires will know what to expect from the outset.
Encouraging employees to share content not only amplifies your brand, but it also diversifies the areas where you have authority. Your staff members have unique perspectives that speak to different audience segments. And because individual employees have 10 times as many social media followers as brand accounts, encouraging them to share their insights can result in unparalleled brand engagement.
Influence & Co. publishes content from executives and department leaders as well as staff members. Six of our staff members currently contribute to our blog, and I expect that number to grow. We work with highly intelligent people whose experiences and insights are invaluable to our company’s knowledge bank. The more team members who contribute, the more authoritative content we can share.
By championing your employees’ personal brands, you’re not just fueling their individual growth. You’re also supporting your company’s brand. Employees want to develop their skills and contribute to the organization in a meaningful way. And if you let them, they’ll reward you with loyalty and brand evangelism that will inspire your audience to emotionally invest in your brand.
Your employees are brimming with rich knowledge and experience. Give your brand a lift by nurturing the people who’ve made your business possible — employees.
What steps have you taken to promote your employees’ brands?