How to create and cultivate employer brand ambassadors
The individuals who work at your organisation can be one of your strongest resources to power your employer brand strategy. Identify and uplift employees of your organisation to be champions and ambassadors – they’re a cost-effective, retention-driving and a progressive opportunity to highlight your brand story driven by word-of-mouth.
There are many ways you can take to identify current and potential ambassadors to help you authentically tell your employer brand story. It’s integral that the route you pursue is one that best reflects your company size and organisational culture. You want to maximise the likelihood of activating your ambassadors, so how you identify, approach and engage with them is key.
We asked Emma Lang, Founder & CEO at employer brand consultancy, Empower EB, to share her top tips on how to identify and engage your employees to become employer brand ambassadors.
1. Identify your proactive ambassadors
Take an audit of your current employees – who’s already creating social media posts that tag your company? Who is proactively contributing to the conversation by using hashtags relevant to your organisation? Consider looking beyond the usual suspects (LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter) and also dive into technology forums, industry sites and other trade-related mediums that are relevant to your industry and talent specialisms.
2. Ensure diversity and representation is reflected amongst your ambassadors
While top performers and leaders may seem like the easy choice to elevate and leverage as ambassadors, it’s important to ensure diversity and representation of different audiences is reflected. Leverage individuals via Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) such as LGBTQ+, working parents, mental health or veteran groups for example, inviting them into the programme. Candidates as well as employees of all stripes and titles want to hear from their peers, and most importantly ones that they can relate to.
Another way to ensure representation is to segment your ambassadors by grade and seniority. Include graduates, managers, and employees in specialist roles in different disciplines. A wide variety of employees adds clout to the programme and the adage ‘lead by example’ could not be truer here. HR and TA should always lead or be closely entwined with an ambassador programme – if your leader and HR department cannot showcase their ambassadorship, then why would others feel encouraged to follow suit?
3. Ask everyone if they’d be interested in joining
When you’ve identified the key employees you’d like to speak to, make sure you open up the initiative to all your employees (if appropriate), so everyone feels welcome to be a part of the programme. This is your opportunity to showcase what your ambassador programme looks like, what its purpose is, and why employees should be a part of it. To those employees already inclined to join, this will be the small push to grow your numbers organically. Some organisations have also seen greater engagement or success by gamifying their ambassadorship programme.
4. Integrate your ambassadorship programme into employee milestones
There are many advantageous opportunities within your employee’s life cycle to socialise and promote an ambassadorship programme. Map out these touchpoints: onboarding, company events, promotions and off-boarding. Each presents a unique moment to promote the ambassadorship programme to incoming, current and outgoing employees.
Consider the sensitivity when approaching your employees – it may be perceived as insensitive or inauthentic if there is no consideration of little preparation for different groups, especially those that may have been recently affected by a restructure for example. Work directly with HR teams when building your strategy to identify, approach and kickstart an ambassador programme. Both HR and TA also function as great test groups as they are the closest supporters for these initiatives – run a trial with them to study and refine the programme before communicating it to the rest of the organisation.
For more tips how to manage your employer brand in our latest whitepaper: Managing your employer brand in challenging times.