Can Employee Advocacy Solve your Tech Talent Woes?

With so many advancements in technology there is an ever-growing demand for skilled employees within this sector to help companies be innovative and competitive. We are constantly being told that there is a skills shortage within tech, but the reality is that the people are out there, however the problem is they probably just don’t know who you are. Google receive a reported 2 million job applications every year, with a high volume of applications from people within the tech and IT sector. The reason why? Google is a globally recognised name, they have built up an amazing reputation as a tech employer and lots of people know about all the amazing perks and benefits of working there. So how can start-ups and companies that don’t have the visibility of a company like Google achieve the same interest from technical candidates? The answer is employee advocacy.

What is Employee Advocacy?

Employee advocacy refers to your current employees positively promoting your company to their own networks (usually via social media). It could be a simple retweet or share of a post from your company, or an autonomous post that showcases exactly why they love working for you!

Increased reach through advocacy
Each single share gets your company’s content / brand seen by more and more people, and with Facebook’s recent algorithm changes this is the only way (without paying to sponsor your posts) to guarantee more people will see the content you’re sharing. Example: If you have 100 employees, each with an average of 400 network connections then a single share from each person would give you a potential reach of 40,000 people. Social algorithms limit this to an extent, but the more employee advocates you have the bigger your potential reach will be.

The benefits of employee advocacy for technical candidates

The tech market is notoriously difficult to penetrate for recruitment. If you’re not technical yourself then you are going to find it tough to find the right people across channels such as social media, and when you do it can be difficult to get yourself heard because you either cannot share the relevant industry knowledge to be taken seriously or you will be amongst a dozen other recruiters fighting for their attention. Employee advocacy however can cut through all of this noise and help build trust in your offering.

If for example you are recruiting for a PHP Developer for your team, it can be extremely effective to reach out to your current IT employees to request a share or endorsement of your company to their own networks. This doesn’t have to be as direct as a referral, but instead could be sharing a link in their slack group, mentioning that your company is hiring at the next Hackathon they attend or simply retweeting your company posts on Twitter. Your technical employees are likely to be connected to other technical people, many of which they will have studied with at University and worked with previously. In other words, your employees are likely to know people with the exact skill-set you are looking for, and the chances are they live relatively local to your offices.

How to make employee advocacy work for your tech team

The odd share and mention of your brand may get you a couple of wins here and there, but if you want employee advocacy to really work as a way to attract technical employees then there are a few things you must consider:

Your proposition must be strong

The way employee advocacy will work is through your employees sharing an insight into their working life in a way that it will attract other technical employees. If you have a weak culture, poor working environment and are working with old technology then you’re going to struggle to attract anyone even if all of your employees are sharing content. Take a look at your proposition and make sure it is as strong as it can be before you go to the market with an advocacy campaign.

You can’t force your employees into it
Employee advocacy can not be pushed upon your employees, otherwise the messages that will come out of it will appear forced and may make candidates question the authenticity of the messages.

You need to give a bit of structure

If you don’t give your employee advocacy campaign a bit of structure then people will either not bother to get involved (potentially because they don’t know what is expected of them), or they may share content that misrepresents your brand. Be clear about what is expected of the employees that do get involved and you will get better results.

Try and keep it authentic
As with our earlier point of not wanting to force employees into employee advocacy for fear of appearing too contrived, you may want to consider the actual content you ask employees to share too. For example, if your employees are simply sharing multiple posts from your marketing department, then it may be less effective than more casual posts that hint of an employee’s enjoyment of their job at your company. Things like a post about a new project win or some photos of a team night out will subtly show that they enjoy working for your organisation a lot more than simply sharing your posts.

Use an incentive

So you’ve got your social media policy and advocacy guide in place, and you’ve shared it with all of the employees in your company. But without any real motivation for your employees to take part, how many do you think will get involved? If there is a potential reward or incentive available for sharing content then you’re likely to find a lot more employees taking part. This doesn’t have to cost you a thing either! Many companies have rewards they can offer at their disposal such as a free parking space for one month or a free duvet day! Chances are your company will have something that you can offer as a reward for the person who shares the most content!

Measure and adapt
Like any other campaign you will want to measure the results and adapt for the future for the best success. You may find that employee’s sharing information on Stack Overflow is more effective than Facebook, so track your successes so you know how to focus your energy for future campaigns.

If you’d like to know how to build an employee advocacy campaign check out our sister company JobHoller for more information – / 01244 567 967.

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