November 10, 2020 • 4 min read
Evangelizing Employees to Be Your Best Talent Magnets
Recommendations remain one of the most trusted forms of marketing, and one of the most effective ways to instigate action. They’re as valuable for choosing a movie as they are for choosing a career opportunity.
An engineer wants to talk to an engineer about life at SAP. A salesperson wants to talk to someone in sales. An operations person wants to dig deeper into a typical day at the company by speaking with someone in ops. Leveraging and empowering your employees to tell such stories is therefore critical in talent attraction and forms the most fundamental piece of an employer branding strategy.
Candidates who gain the authentic perspective of an SAP employee will have better insight into our culture and organization, which will allow them to make a more educated decision on whether this is the right place to progress their career. For the employer, this results in higher quality candidates, engagement at the organization, and increased levels of retention.
I’d like to share how we at SAP have gone about realizing these benefits. Implementing an employee advocacy is no small task, but it has the potential to be one of the most valuable investments an organization can make.
How to get the cogs of employee advocacy turning
Capturing employee stories can seem daunting. Where do you begin? Thankfully the process can be distilled down to three simple enough steps:
- Pinpointing your EVP: Identify your core values, which are represented in your Employer Value Proposition (EVP). It’s then a matter of finding real-world examples of these values in action.
- Collect and launch: You’ll probably have uncovered a few stories during your EVP research phase. Capture these stories in whatever form you prefer (as well as the employee) – blog, video, podcast – and launch your campaign.
- Encourage ongoing involvement: Build processes and channels that make it super easy for employees to share testimonials, stories and perspectives. Incentivize participation through recognition and rewards, if/when possible.
At SAP, we aim to maximize the leverage offered by authentic employee stories. Where possible we post them on our career site, our social profiles, in emails and on professional communities like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and more.
Leveraging and empowering your employees to tell such stories is therefore critical in talent attraction and forms the most fundamental piece of an employer branding strategy.
We strive to ensure that we do all this with the full backing of the employee. It’s important that the employee is comfortable with how they and their story are shared, so we take our cues from them. The success of any employee advocacy program is based on the authenticity of the advocacy, so you need employees to feel comfortable and proud of what they share and how they share it.
Getting employees on board
Our team at SAP has built a talent ambassador program called Life at SAP Leaders from the ground up this year. This is a network of engaged employees who enable SAP to deliver employer branding at scale. We also wanted to provide value to the employees who participate in the program – we wanted it to be a win for all parties involved.
Knowing what motivates your employees allows you to turn them into effective evangelists.
We’re a global company, so we piloted this program in a few key markets. Our amazing team built a plan that made it as simple as possible for an employee to get involved. We:
- Outlined criteria to take part.
- Created a plan to promote the program and encourage employees to sign up.
- Created onboarding processes (a kick-off call, content on the whats, whys and hows of the program.)
- Offered assistance and tools (help with content ideation, FAQs, key contacts, news and highlights.)
- Developed a process to recognize contributors.
- Identified a core team to help drive the program, outlining their roles and responsibilities.
- Developed a calendar to keep engagement going
Knowing what motivates your employees allows you to turn them into effective evangelists, so when we onboard ambassadors into the Life at SAP Leaders program we ask a specific set of questions. This helps us to better understand them, their areas of interest and expertise, and what they are passionate about.
Delivering value to the employees involved
As mentioned above, employee advocacy shouldn’t be a one-way street – it should be a win for everyone involved. You should make the advocacy process pain-free, with clear goals, objectives and timelines. You should offer support through training, enablement and smart tools. Finally, you should make the process fun – something that employees are excited to be a part of. It shouldn’t seem like work, but rather a great way to connect with colleagues, learn from each other, and feel like you’re contributing.
Employee advocacy shouldn’t be a one-way street – it should be a win for everyone involved.
Do all that, and the perks for both employer and employee are significant:
- Companies with strong EB drive twice the number of applicants per job.
- Future recruits trust employees 3x more when looking for information about a potential employer.
- By posting regular content on LinkedIn, employees can grow their personal brand by over 45%.
At SAP, and indeed at any company, employee advocacy starts with trust. Trust in the people you work with, trust in the people you work for, trust in the work you do.
At SAP, and indeed at any company, employee advocacy starts with trust.
If an organization consistently shows that it’s worthy of that trust, it will maximize the impact of an employee advocacy program.
About the author: Robin Dagostino is a brand builder, innovative marketer, and creative services leader with over 15+ years’ experience driving double digit KPI growth. Robin is based in the US and currently leads SAP’s Global Employer Branding team. Her passions include concepting, executing, and optimizing campaigns and initiatives that truly make a difference.