In the last three years, we have seen candidates’ asking for more and more details about life in your organisation. Between 2016 and 2019 our data shows a steady increase in the number of questions (and views on these questions) surrounding work culture, diversity, role progression and work-life balance.
Candidates want to know about the challenges employees at your company face daily. This movement towards asking for a more honest approach implies a need for more than just the facts: candidates want to hear from your employees themselves about how company policies play out for them. They don’t want your rose-tinted glasses anymore. Instead, they want the raw and honest truth. So, how should you go about building authentic content?
People Buy People
People buy people is a well-known concept. Why? Because people buy your brand and not your product. Think about it. There are thousands of other companies probably doing exactly the same thing as you. So, what actually makes you different, what makes them buy from you? Take a guess - you and your team are the reason that they buy your products. Moving away from your consumer brand, let’s zoom into how this affects your employer brand.
If people buy people, then who is the first person you need to involve in your employer brand? Your employees. Phew - got that off our chest. Andrew Seel, Chief Executive Officer at Quibist, rightly observes that “To find the brightest minds externally, companies are now turning internally to work with their best influencers - their employees.”
Job candidates want to hear your employees stories. All candidates want to know the good stuff, the positives but the candidates who will stay for longer than 6 months... they also need to know the challenges your employees face, the ‘harsh reality’ of life at your company. This will actually let them buy into the challenges your employees face, and the characters they will be working with. It will allow them to find their purpose at your company, what they want to change about it and what they like.
Getting Employees Involved
We know that employees are the best placed to tell persuasive stories about your organization, but which employees? What should you look for in an employee ambassador to feature in your employer branding tactics? According to Kasey Sixt from CKR Interactive, the best storytellers aren’t always the most eloquent ones. They’re the ones who show the real picture of your organization, not just the rose-tinted version. Be transparent about your company’s flaws and clear about how you’re working to address them.
Here are some words from our cofounder, Alon Laniado, on how to select your employee ambassadors:
One of the key takeaways from this video is to not overload your employees with extra work. You need to ensure that they are given enough time to complete the task at hand and an incentive. It is also necessary to ensure they are writing on a topic which they are interested or very much involved in. If there is a support group for women in leadership at your company, they should produce content about what it is like to work as a woman in your organisation. If someone is in a company sports team, ask them to write about the company culture. It is as simple as that. Ask your employees to write about topics which they are interested in and they will be more likely to provide you raw, honest and great content.
Create Truly Persuasive Stories on a Wide Range of Topics
With candidates consuming 2-18 pieces of content before clicking apply you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Stories provide stronger audience engagement and an opportunity to make you memorable. Why? Stories get our attention by triggering empathy. When it comes to standing out in a sea of competing information, using a strong narrative to get your message across is your best bet. They grab and hold our attention by putting us in the driver’s seat, engaging our empathy, and they’re stickier, because we feel like we experienced the story ourselves. Read more about this in our eBook focused on Storytelling:
With the rise in candidates seeking more information about culture, diversity, role progression and work/life balance in the past four years, than ever before, it is a pivotal moment of time to introduce your employees stories into your employer brand content strategy. Through stories told by your employees, you establish the authenticity of your employer brand by sealing the content gap. With 77% of candidates reporting that their impression of the company improved after reading employee stories, it is imperative that you get it right.
In our previous research, where we analysed over 100,000 stories across the PathMotion platform, conducted by Wharton Business School, we found that a persuasive story requires five characteristics:
- Narrative – An arc to the story drives expectation and tension.
- Authenticity – Stories should communicate a tangible, real-life experience
- Detail – Details drive the compelling nature of a good story
- Meaningful challenges – Key hurdles that the employee face and how they were able to overcome them, creates tension and adds to that narrative arc.
- Practical tips – These address the questions candidates are posing, providing steps that can be realised and achieved.
Train your employees on how to write an engaging story, utilising the above research, and then give them the power to write about their own experiences of the company across the topics that interest them.
Vary your content formats to engage your audience
Everything from job posts to blog posts, Q and A platforms, and content on your career site detailing your company’s culture and values, allow you to lift the curtain behind the corporate images on your website, attracting new applicants and nurturing your employer brand. Storytelling can become one of your most powerful techniques if you do it right, and video is also an effective format which your employees could utilise. Contrary to popular belief, creating the best video content for your employer brand does not need to take months, or a big chunk of your budget. It is about producing videos that cover a wide range of topics in a format which will resonate with your job candidates. To find out more about utilising video in your employer brand content strategy, read our blog here.
How can we help?
PathMotion is an online discussion platform that connects job candidates directly to real employees via the company's career website. PathMotion lets today's digitally savvy job seekers find the content they truly want -which is traditionally missing from your career sites - by allowing employee advocates to share their personal stories through online discussions, live chat events, video content and social media integrations, improving the employer brand and accelerating talent acquisition and recruiting. Organisations like Air France, Deloitte, Post Office, AXA, the NHS, Citi and more choose PathMotion to increase their qualified applicants by over 200% and improve their job offer acceptance rate by 65%. Find more at www.pathmotion.com and follow @PathMotion on Twitter.