Why Your Employer Brand Needs to Include Your Employees

Your Employer Brand Is Missing One Key Element — Your Employees

A strong employer brand delivers value throughout the entire hiring process: from attracting the right talent, which makes candidate sourcing easy, to representing your company accurately during the interview process.

But how do you bring your employer brand to the next level?

We spoke to Lauryn Sargent and Mollie Delp to learn about the best tool to improve your employer brand — your employees.

As the co-founder of Stories Incorporated, a recruitment marketing content studio in Washington DC, Sargent sheds some light on why not including your employees in your employer brand is bad for both your brand and your candidate.

“The only person who has the real details, what it’s like to truly work at your company, are the people doing the work and showing up every day,” she says. Their stories give candidates a true sense of what it’s like to work there.

Delp, the HR specialist at Workshop Digital, an SEO and digital marketing agency located in Richmond, VA, shares this sentiment and highlights how including employees during interviews gives candidates opportunities to dive deeper and see if the company is a good fit for them.

“The candidate really has an open window to talk to people that are doing that job already,” she says. “They can be open and honest about what it’s like to work here and ask questions where they might not feel as comfortable asking HR, the manager, or the co-founder.”

Read on for the full transcript of Sargent and Delp’s explanations and uncover why you need to use employees in your employer brand and how to do it effectively:

Lauryn Sargent

Hi, my name is Lauryn Sargent. I am the co-founder at Stories Incorporated. We create recruitment marketing content using employee stories. So, employee stories are the best recruitment marketing content, and it’s also a best practice.

In fact, if an organization does not use employee stories in their recruitment marketing content, so think careersite, Glassdoor pages, LinkedIn pages, social channels, Facebook. If they aren’t using employee stories, it makes me wonder why they are not.   

Is it because they couldn’t find an employee that had a really great story about what it’s like to work there? Or, is their communications, marketing, or recruitment department too sanitized to let some realness through? In either case, it’s not good for the candidates or the employment brand if they are not using employee stories.  

There’s a few reasons why:

Employees are trustworthy

The first, people trust employees more than anybody else according to a study done by Evelyn. That means your CEO testimonial, sometimes talking to a recruiter isn’t nearly as effective as learning from the employee’s first hand what it’s like to work there. That’s really important for job seekers to know so they can make an informed decision.

Stories help determine fit

Another reason would be to use employee stories in your employer branding, recruitment marketing practice. You should be creating unique content that will allow the right candidate to choose you and then the wrong candidate to apply elsewhere.

The only person who has the real details, what it’s like to truly work at your company, are the people doing the work and showing up every day. Getting that content is really most valuable to the candidates and it’s who they trust hearing from the most anyway.

Selecting in and out in the application phase, so all of that content that potential candidates are seeing, that being something that people can opt in and out of. It doesn’t waste the time of the candidate, the recruiter, and in some cases entire interview teams.

Think of the third or fourth round where a candidate learns something that they could have learned at the beginning stage and really saved everybody a lot of time and effort. It also gets recruiting teams closer to some of the statistics they care about. Things like reduce time to hire, as well as the organization feeling less of that strain having to fill positions badly needed while they are wasting time during the recruitment process.

Cultural appeal attracts the right talent

Third, if you’re not being specific about the type of culture you are, you’re missing out on talent that’s looking for something unique. Think about the candidate that can work anywhere. They may be looking for something that’s very specific to their needs. You aren’t even in that game if you aren’t showing what’s interesting about working at your organization.

We actually have a good story for that.

There was a mid-sized government contractor that we worked with. They couldn’t talk about the specifics of what they did because they were in intelligence, but they had really great stories about things the organization had done for their people. Very specific stories. It painted a very real picture of what it’s like to work at that organization.

The organization that was small to mid-sized created three videos, sponsored them on Facebook ads. They got over 5,000 views each and as a result, they had people applying looking for a really great culture.

Mollie Delp

My name is Mollie Delp. I am the HR specialist at Workshop Digital.   

Employees back up your culture

Our company culture is all about transparency and accountability, which are two of our six core values. Having team members in those interviews speaking directly to candidates without management, or without HR really backs that up.

We want to make sure we are being fully transparent with candidates about what it’s like to work at Workshop Digital. But, we also want our candidates and our employees to hold us accountable for being transparent and honest about what it’s really like working here. Having the team in those interviews opens that door of communication between that candidate and the team to make sure that’s really happening.

There are a lot of benefits for everyone whenever we have the team involved. The candidate really has an open window to talk to people that are doing that job already.

They can be open and honest about what it’s like to work here and ask questions where they might not feel as comfortable asking HR, the manager, or the co-founder. It really opens that window for them to ask those sort of questions and feel like they’re really having an opportunity to know what it’s like to be here.

Give your team a say

For the team, it gives them an opportunity to meet people that are coming into the workplace. New team members work more with them, than they do with HR at the end of the day. I want to make sure that they have an opportunity to have a say in who’s going to be working with them and making them better as a team.

For the decision makers, we take what our employees say seriously. We never make a final decision on a candidate, until we actually speak with the team and get their feedback. It’s good to know that we’re hearing the same thing as HR and management, as what the team is hearing from the same candidate. We want to make sure that those messages match and that we have the true transparency to see who this candidate is.          

Make your employees feel comfortable beforehand

We want to make sure that every team member that goes into an interview feels comfortable. That they feel like they have background knowledge on that candidate and their experience. Those interviews are often more for the soft culture based questions. We’re just trying to get to know them as a person. So, we want to make sure that when that team goes in, they have enough understanding of what we’ve learned so far.

Typically I have a sit down meeting with them in advance, or I send them a quick summary of why that candidate made it that far. What experiences do they have that we saw would be a benefit to them. And, really just making sure that they know that we’ve done the backend work to make sure that they are qualified.  

We also make sure that if they need extra questions, we will provide them. We do a recap afterwards every time, and just make sure that they stay on time, so they don’t have to worry about it.

Really it’s just making sure that everybody is going in comfortable, they know we’ve done the hard work from the beginning, and that we’re there to support them in that decision, and that their voice matters.