Employee advocacy is often discussed within the contexts of sales and marketing, but it is a powerful force for recruiting as well. Your people are your greatest asset, and can be instrumental in humanizing your employer brand and extending the reach of your job openings. Some employees will naturally advocate for your organization. Others may only do so with some encouragement and guidance, perhaps because they don’t know what they’re allowed to say, or what they can do to help. There’s a lot to be said for empowering your employees and providing them with the right tools so they can make a major impact in your recruiting efforts. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Keep employee satisfaction and engagement at forefront of all you do
Satisfied and engaged employees are more likely to go out of their way to advocate for your organization. As a talent acquisition professional, you have more control over this than you may think. Help your teams attract and hire people who are a good fit. Elevate employees by sharing their stories through your employer branding channels. Recognize those generating employee referrals. Ask for employee feedback on your recruitment process—especially from new hires—and implement changes. Each of these things can help build a satisfied and engaged workforce that may advocate for others to come work at your organization.
Work closely with your biggest advocates
Identify the people who are already advocating for your organization, learn why they advocate, and find out what you can do to make it easier for them. Begin with those who are generating employee referrals and promoting your employer brand, then rope in the people who may be sharing non-recruiting content. This should help you generate ideas to maximize the efforts of your advocates, and to get more people involved.
Test the waters for employee advocacy by starting with a small group within your organization. Perhaps this group is made up of your most active referrers, or a single department that is open to experimentation. Work very closely with this group to build and refine your program to achieve the best recruiting results. Look for things like decreased time to fill, improved quality of hire, lower cost per hire, and greater recruiting efficiency. Then share those results to get the rest of your organization on board.
Offer social media training
Many employees aren’t currently advocating for your organization because they simply don’t know what to share, or if they’re allowed to share anything at all. Activate more employee advocates by providing social media training. Show them examples of posts that help promote your open roles and employer brand, as well as some guidance on what to stay away from discussing. You may even go as far as providing channel-specific workshops, such as a LinkedIn profile building workshop that will help your company look more appealing to candidates.
Regularly communicate about company news, employee stories, and job openings
The best way to get employees to share company information is to make it easy for them. Aggregate the information you’d like them to share, and send it to them on a regular basis. The most basic way is via email, but you could also use a more sophisticated internal communications tool. Either way, provide some recommended text that makes it easier for employees to share information about your open roles and employer brand.
Encourage employees to talk about your company, and engage with them
At the Social Recruiting Strategies Conference, Craig Fisher shared how CA Technologies creates gift packages for milestones their employees have. For example, they have an onboarding package for new hires, a “welcome home” package for those who have recently moved, and a baby welcome bag for new parents. Each comes with a short note congratulating the employee, and encouraging them to use the company hashtag if they choose to share photos on social media. The company monitors the hashtag and engages with employees as they post their stories. By both encouraging employees to share, and engaging with the posts, they are able to extend their reach and build their employer brand.
There are so many benefits to employee advocacy across all functions—including recruiting. Some organizations already have a formal employee advocacy program, and the recruiting team can benefit from collaborating on its planning and implementation. However, it’s not necessary that a program already be in place. Talent acquisition teams are already spearheading employer branding and employee referral efforts, and advocacy just puts the two of them together to create a more holistic recruiting strategy. While there’s certainly a benefit to making this a cross-functional initiative, you don’t have to wait to begin seeing the benefits to your recruitment organization.