Let Your Employees Talk About Themselves for Greater Engagement
Chances are you think you’re a pretty interesting person. Why else would you Instagram that photo of your award-winning holiday-themed desk at work? Or share your company blog post – the one where you talk about how to engage employees? If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. It turns out everyone on social media likes to talk about themselves. Researchers have found that up to 80% of social media posts are announcements about people’s own immediate experiences. So we all have a healthy ego, and that’s great, but how can employers use this knowledge to create greater engagement among employees?
Unleash the power of employee-generated content!
According to Harvard neuroscientists, talking about oneself creates the same sensation of pleasure in our brains as food and money do. If you want satisfied, happy employees, encourage them to share their experiences. That doesn’t mean throwing together a survey and mass emailing your employees with the subject line, “TELL ME ABOUT YOU.” To attract successful employee-generated content (EGC), you need a clear set of goals.
By the end of the competition, over 2,000 employees participated, and 75 percent of respondents shared the project with friends, family and colleagues
For example, when Deloitte set out to create EGC, they had two goals: 1) show potential hires how great it is to work there, and 2) engage current employees through participation. To do this, they created the Deloitte Film Festival competition. Employees were asked to create videos answering the question, “What’s your Deloitte?” By the end of the competition, over 2,000 employees participated, and 75 percent of respondents shared the project with friends, family and colleagues outside of Deloitte.
Once you have a goal, you need a plan of attack. While you brainstorm, keep in mind the attributes that all successful EGC has in common, and ask yourself: Is my campaign…
“With employee-generated content, authenticity is a dominant value in the content. It needs to tell a story which enables the audience to associate a positive understanding about the company with an underpinning of career endeavors. The relevancy and accuracy of the content, including from whom the content was created, is authenticated to the company and employee that works there.” –Russell Miyaki
Target does a great job of giving their employees a voice. This is an effective strategy for not only engaging employees but also giving your clients a window into who they’re working with. Whether you choose to do a one-time employee engagement page, or you offer your employees a more permanent blogger position, just make sure you are allowing the employee to express themselves in their own words. This, along with on-the-job photos, will help you build an authentic brand image.
EGC can act as an organic recruitment tool to attract new hires
Consider all the reasons your employees love where they work. Fast food chain In-N-Out Burger was recently listed by Entrepreneur as a top company to work for in 2015. Their employees cite “great pay rates, fantastic hours, calm and comfortable atmosphere, and plenty of benefits” among the reasons for working there. Talk to your employees and find out what they are most excited about. Then harness their excitement by putting it on a platform where others can see it. Internally, it will serve to inspire current employees, and externally, it can appeal to potential job candidates.
To make the Deloitte Film Festival inclusive, the company relied heavily on early-stage employee input.
“Feedback here was key; it helped us flesh out the project voice/tone, structure the project for maximum two-way communication and decide to invest in filmmaker support tools.”
– Janet C. DeNunzio, a member of Deloitte Services U.S. Communications team.
Ensure that the greatest number of employees will participate and contribute to the campaign by polling them ahead of time. This will give you a good idea of what level of participation they are most comfortable with and what would motivate them to contribute.
T-Mobile uses the branded hashtag #BeMagenta to aggregate all their EGC on social media. Search “#BeMagenta” on Twitter or Facebook and you’ll find posts like this one:
More importantly, Be Magenta is more than a hashtag. “Magenta” is a lifestyle T-Mobile has crafted and promotes across all communication platforms. To be magenta means you are bold, fearless, and brilliant. T-Mobile EGC tagged with #BeMagenta lets employees align themselves with those positive attributes and all others on the team who share their beliefs.
For all your EGC campaigns, but especially when they live on social media, you need to be the one leading the conversation. To do this, you need to create guidelines for not only the account handler, but the users. Facebook’s About tab is a good place to put your page expectations. Tell your users what will and will not be accepted. Of course, even with a set of rules, you may get the occasional negative post. Decide ahead of time how you and your team will deal with potential issues and establish a protocol for addressing the problem post.
Letting your employees tell their story is imperative if you want to create an engaged and unified team. In addition, EGC can act as an organic recruitment tool to attract new hires. Just remember that in the world of EGC, your campaign is nothing unless it’s authentic, positive, inclusive and branded.