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Activate Your Internal Workforce And Tap Into The Power Of Endorsements


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Candidates want to work for great companies. So it’s no surprise that many organizations invest in being well-regarded places to work. Whether it’s competitive salaries and benefits, an inclusive and innovative culture, flexible work accommodations or ”work perks,” companies expend lots of effort to attract the best candidates.

Both active and passive candidates want to know what an employer offers and how that measures up to their goals and work preferences. While organizations need to communicate the value they bring to the employment relationship, these messages are exponentially more powerful when they are conveyed by a current employee or trusted third-party.

Marketers have long recognized the credibility that comes from endorsements. Amazon is a pioneer of this strategy, having built its business model on helping consumers make purchase decisions by sharing other customer reviews and purchases of products, books and movies. The power of third-party endorsements is extended even further when those endorsements are delivered by someone the individual knows.

For a company seeking new sources of talent, the internal workforce contains a powerful set of recruitment brand ambassadors waiting to be activated. These ambassadors can provide access to new talent pools and be impactful messengers of why your organization is a great place to work. They can also help identify candidates with the right skills and experience as well as those most likely to complement the culture and “fit in.” After all, who knows an organization better than its existing employees?

Employers who embrace this employee-centric philosophy can extend employment brand messages and find the talent they need. So, how can you activate your internal workforce?

Power to the people

Even in this age of social communication, some employers still block social sites, citing security or productivity concerns. But, prohibiting access to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be a disservice to your brand. By not enabling employees to participate on the company’s behalf and during business hours, employers are missing a major opportunity to influence potential candidates and connect with top talent. And, don’t forget, nearly every employee has a mobile phone that they use to access their social platforms, so blocking them from the office is just plain stupid!

Instead, encourage employees to be socially engaged with the company. At a minimum, ask employees, business partners and others to “like” the corporate Facebook page and to share job openings with their networks. To facilitate this, create policies for social use and guidelines for how employees can participate in online conversations and support employment brand messages.

Identify your top ambassadors

When it comes to building employment brand evangelists, don’t be afraid to start small. Four or five influential individuals can help carry your recruitment messages forward. Social media is about storytelling, so let candidates experience the organization through the words and images of employees. Individuals who can deliver compelling stories about the company – whether that’s sharing its mission or a typical day on the job – provide candidates with more of the details they are looking for when considering employment. This also provides competitive advantage because it shows candidates, rather than tells them, why the company is a great place to work.

Cash in on connections

Looking for an application engineer who is fluent in French? Chances are, if someone in your company possesses those qualifications, they know others who do, too. Employees actively involved in alumni or special interest groups already have an established network and relationship within those communities, so when they tell others your organization is a great place to work, the message is perceived as credible. Employee referral programs provide a great source of candidates. Even if a referral isn’t hired, delivering a positive experience during the recruitment process and even continuing a relationship can keep individuals engaged in future career opportunities.

Round up reviewers

Job seekers like to read and write about the employment experience. Reviews written by real people provide excellent information about career development opportunities, culture, management style, rewards, and more. Forward-thinking employers are encouraging employees to endorse the company on review sites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn in order to provide candidates with insider insight and promote the organization. Of course, this requires the company to provide an excellent candidate experience throughout the candidate journey.

Dangle a carrot

Think about extending the incentive program to all brand ambassadors. If you’re going full-throttle with your internal ambassador program, using an incentive can encourage employees to refer people from their network and participate in your recruitment efforts.

Getting people outside your HR and Marketing Departments to tell your stories and champion your company as a great place to work can be a competitive differentiator that puts your jobs in front of top talent. Prospective employees want to know what a company has to offer them, and hearing those messages from a member of their network gives the information credibility and authenticity.

Splitting his time between London and New York, Steven Z. Ehrlich, Global VP of Client Development for TMP Worldwide works closely with agency teams and clients to explore, develop, and implement strategic initiatives leveraging social media, new technologies, and innovative employer brand delivery channels. Ehrlich has leveraged emerging tools and technologies to enhance both brand articulation and recruitment for a multitude of organizations including Deloitte, Capital One, Walmart, P&G, Areva, GlaxoSmithKline, Disney, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Yale University. He currently holds a non-executive board seat at SIFE, serves as an Advisory Board member for the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI), and is a member of The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE). Ehrlich was recently named one of HRMarketer’s “Top 25 Online Influencers in Recruiting,” and is a recipient of the 2010 SIFE Champion Award. You can connect with Steven on Twitter @99GR81 and LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenzehrlich