How Personal Brands Can Fuel Your Employer Brand Strategy

Post by
Brian Mooney
February 18, 2020

There are many different channels to power your employer brand strategy. Leveraging your employee's networks is the most underdeveloped channel to build an audience. To leverage your employee networks they need to become advocates for your brand. Not all employees are advocates, but all employees are ambassadors. Think about it, they are talking to family, friends, customers, and even co-workers. All these conversations are building a perception about your brand and they carry more weight than the culture video on your career site. More importantly, these conversations reach farther and wider than any piece of content that you will ever create. The moral of this story - you need to influence that message as much as possible. Today we are going to explore investing in your employee's personal brands and arm them with the tools and information they need to have more effective conversations. 

Leveraging your employee's personal brands could be your secret employer branding weapon, but the truth is most people don’t have very strong personal brands or at least don't know how to build one. Here are the best ways to build your employee’s personal brands.

1. Boost Their Social Profiles

Create an array of branded content specifically for social media profiles. Take, for example, the banner images that Wistia uses to unite their teams on LinkedIn.

Pay for professional headshots. There's plenty of low-cost ways to do this and it elevates their profiles and preps them for any speaking gigs.

Pro tip: use a backdrop that continues to unify the brand. A great example of this - Hubspot, we’ve all seen the orange backgrounds in profile pictures in both current employees and alumni. 

Build out their profile content, specifically content about what they do. Most people aren’t great about talking about themselves. Use your skills to help

2. Give Them Content

They shouldn’t have to think about writing your own content. You could provide a list of blog post ideas or other content that could be helpful for people in their field. At a minimum, you need to put content in a central location and educate them on where to find that content. Even better, send this content directly to them and make it easy for them to share. If you have a content calendar, give them access to that calendar. The more they see it, the more they will think about it, the more they will use it.

3. Train Them To Present

Having people speak on panels, at events, or even on podcasts is a great brand booster, but it’s also pretty scary if you’ve never done it before. Train your employees to get comfortable presenting information and speaking about topics they are passionate about.

Pro tip: Host internal company events to warm them up. Try planning an event around a topic they are passionate about.

4. Give Them Reps

This can come in many different forms, but the basic idea is to make sure they are constantly practicing how to talk about their careers and what they do. Build your employee's confidence by encouraging them to have 3 - 4 coffees per month with people in their network or field. This will open up opportunities and get them talking about the exciting projects they are working on. The more they talk about what they do and where they do it, the more likely they will be comfortable talking about it on a bigger platform.

Pro Tip: Set up a networking program where you provide training and pays for these coffees.

Where To Start...

Helping your employees build their personal brands is the right thing to do and it can lead to more interest from candidates. But you need to understand that not everyone in your company wants to build their personal brands or share your content. And that's ok. Focus on the lowest hanging fruit and find the people who are excited about this opportunity. Here is where you should start:

  • Identify Branders
  • Work with managers to identify employees that are showing interest or enable them to ask this type of question during a check-in meeting.
  • Find ‘next-in-line’ managers. These are people that show high potential.
  • Reward them
  • Make a limited quantity of high-quality swag for people who participate in your branding efforts. Don’t tell anyone about it and reward the early adopters with it. Once your other employees see them using this unique item they will start asking how they got it and it will spread like wildfire. 
  • Educate them 
  • There are plenty of people in your company that want to share information if it means a better, faster hire, but they might not know where to start. Hold training sessions to teach people how to use the platforms and share best practices. More importantly, show them the results. If they know the effort they are making is resulting in better, faster hires then report that back to them.
  • Gamify it
  • There are tons of tools out there that will help you gamify it this process which will allow you to award prizes to people who contribute. Make sure your prizes will motivate your teams. My last company raffled off sporting event tickets to our employees who followed our LinkedIn company page within a certain time frame. Just be sure there aren’t too many steps in the process or participation may drop off. 

Your employees, both current and former, are the perfect people to excite potential candidates at the top of the funnel and convince ones at the bottom. Developing your current employee's personal brands will also help you retain them. Keep in mind, building a personal brand takes time, but helping employees through this process will pay off in the long run and they will be forever grateful that you helped them do it.

If you want to talk in more detail about setting up a program that will help you build your employee's personal brands shoot me an email at brian@nextwavehire.com