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Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Straight Scoop: Why Employee-Authored Content is a Branding Powerhouse

By Phil Strazzulla Pat is looking for a new job. She sees an opening that looks promising and realizes it’s at the company where her friend Terry works.

You might think that the first thing she’ll ask Terry is, “Can you put in a good word for me with the hiring manager?”

But you might be surprised. Because the first thing that Pat would ask—or that when you really think about it, any of us would ask—is, “What’s it like to work there?”

Sure, Pat could read the company description from the ad or online, or look at some of the company’s communications materials, but she doesn’t want the glossy key messages. She wants to hear from someone who’s in the trenches, so to speak. It’s pretty simple. So simple as to be obvious. And yet, it’s a truth that is completely forgotten about by most companies: when it comes to your reputation as a workplace, talent trusts your people more than your PR.

Employer Branding and Your Staff

Your reputation as a workplace is the underlying principle behind employer branding. You can have an amazing brand as a company, and your product can be the hot name on everybody’s lips. But if your reputation as an employer is a giant question mark (or worse, a hazard sign), you won’t be the top choice of the talented and energetic people you want on your team.

“But Phil, we’ve got a great corporate culture!” you say. “Everybody enjoys their work, challenges themselves and their teammates, respects each other, and really believes in why we’re doing what we do!”

That’s great, but nobody’s going to find out about it if you don’t pass the mic to your employees and let them tell the world. But, by curating employee-generated content, you can harness a cost-effective and powerful way to cement your employer branding and improve your transparency.

Your People: A Trusted Resource

Employee-generated content can be as simple as some quick blurbs from staff in different departments that describe their roles and what they enjoy about working for you or regular blog posts from a rotating roster of staff members. When made prominent and easily accessible on your company’s website, this employee-generated content acts as an army of “Terry”s, giving curious talent an authentic sense of your company’s culture.

Making it work will take some effort. You want to make it as painless and quick as possible for your staff members, so that you’re not taking away from their other duties more than necessary. This may require some extra prep work from management to organize and plan this content, configure templates, and devise other ways to make it as rewarding as possible for staff to participate in this. But it’ll all be worth it when the people who would fit best into your company can see that fit from the outside, spurring them to consider you before any other employer.
Nobody knows more on the topic of what talent cares about than the talent that’s already within your doors. So why not encourage your staffers to give an authentic picture of your story at a time?

Phil Strazzulla is the CEO of NextWave Hire, an employer branding software company that allows companies to collect hundreds of authentic employee stories, and then distribute them through career pages, social media, and various other channels.  NextWave works with companies like Dropbox,, CEB and more to help them build their brands and attract the best talent.

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