For most businesses, a brand advocacy program is a low-cost way to spread the good word about its mission, employees and culture. The most credible feedback on a company comes from its employees, and authentic reviews can both bring potential hires to your door and increase engagement and retention of existing staff. “Companies inspire brand advocacy in their workforce by consistently and authentically sharing their brand promise with employees,” say Harold Hardaway and Shannon Hernandez, principal consultants at Cardigan Communications Group. Employers should use a strong employer brand to attract employees who fit the culture, they say. Then, that culture must be emphasized with a strong internal brand and communications program that reinforces the values and celebrates the behaviors that lead to the fulfillment of the brand promise. They recommend onboarding programs, internal storytelling, and reward and recognition programs as great places to start. Liz Gelb-O’Connor, VP and global head of employer brand & marketing at ADP, says her company’s brand advocacy program has two major benefits. First, the program drives associate engagement, keeping staff up to date on what is happening company-wide and offering networking opportunities. “Second,” Gelb-O’Connor says, “our advocates are helping ADP to attract top talent. Advocates are asked to continually think about referring new talent to join ADP and are asked to share content on their personal social media channels that highlight ADP as an employer of choice.” Experts warn that brand advocacy must be genuine, or else it may negatively impact brand loyalty with customers and potential customers.
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