Employer Branding — August 25, 2023

How to engage people to join employer branding activities

Marko Pelesk Employer Branding Strategist

Congratulations on setting up your employer branding strategy! We know it wasn’t an easy task. From pitching the idea, to presenting the benefits of employer branding to your management board, all the way to talking to your people. It sure was a ride. Now it’s time to make your strategy come to its fullest – to showcase your people, and let your people showcase the employer branding strategy.

Whenever we talk about employer branding, there’s always that one person who asks the question: “How do we engage people to join our employer branding activities?”. It might not be a simple task, but it sure is a fun one! Well, that depends on your definition of fun.

Without further ado, let’s dive deep into tactics on how to engage your colleagues to create a great employer brand! 

Why you need people for employer branding

Okay, for all of you in the back, let’s first see why we need people for employer branding activities. How many of you have bought that one product only because your favorite celebrity uses it? Our guess is… a few of you. Same goes for brand ambassadors, or employer branding influencers, if you will. You really want to put your most vocal, funky (if it aligns with your organization), inspiring, yet professional colleagues to the front of your employer branding efforts. 

What many organizations fail to understand is that you can’t expect your employees to be the driving force behind employer branding efforts. The initial push and responsibility to see it through, by educating and motivating the employees, is a team effort.

To be completely honest with you, those nicely designed Instagram posts with stock photos (we got chills just by writing this) won’t do you any good. It might even do your brand worse. Why? It’s not authentic. Your colleagues know it. Some of your potential candidates know it, and at the end of the day, you definitely know it. Instead of a stock model, get Sasha from Accounting to model for you a bit. 

“But Marko! Sasha doesn’t want to!” 

Okay dear reader, but why would she want to? Did you try to give her something in return? Did you at least tell her hair looks amazing today? Did you engage in a casual conversation lately? Exactly… You can’t expect people to show up just because you need them to. I know, it would make our jobs a lot easier – but hey, that’s the reality of things. 

Okay, but how will you engage Sasha? Or Martin? Or the two shy interns who’s names you can’t really seem remember?

Step zero

Get to know people you’re trying to engage – what they care about, what they like, what their workload is, how they feel about employer branding in general, and even how they feel about your company.

In our experience, there are a couple of groups of people when it comes to their willingness to participate in employer branding activities. Yes! Both developers and marketing people are as easy (or as hard) to engage! Let me present to you my own list (disclaimer; this is obviously not supported by any big source like SHRM or… I don’t know, LinkedIn)!

8 types of people in the workplace and how to get them on board

1) Superstars – People who are willing to participate in anything, anytime, and anywhere. Oh, those are our favorites! There is not much to tell about these folks, other than – protect them at all costs! These are the ones who are camera friendly, are more than happy to hold a presentation at your local university, and are always wearing your company hoodie.

How to engage them? You kind of don’t need to, but do tell them you really appreciate their involvement! Of course, some praise is always welcome and goes a long way. Tell the world about them publicly via LinkedIn, or give them credit via Slack, Teams, or any other internal communication tool you use.

2) Rising stars – People who are perfect to showcase your employer brand. They’re the amazing experts in their field, who would give an exquisite interview for that one professional portal you have been eyeing for the longest time. They’re a real delight in your organization, but they’re not necessarily very vocal about it. We know you know exactly who we’re talking about.

How to engage them? Tell them you cherish their personality, grab a coffee with them, or sit down for some lunch together, and ask them to share their opinion about the company, pitch them the idea, and then help them put down the answers for the interview. Sometimes, you’ll have to be a ghostwriter too. 

3) SHYny stars – One of our personal favorites! Those are truly hidden gems. These aren’t the people who’ll come to your desk and tell you they want to be in the next video. Day dreamers, who fantasize about how cool it’d be if somebody asked them to participate. Just like when you invite them to a party, they might not seem too happy or enthusiastic about it but, trust me, they are bursting with happiness inside. Believe us when we say they’ll give their best if given the chance!

How to engage them? Ask them in private. They might shyly refuse initally, but don’t let that discourage you. Make sure you ask them a week later, and believe us, they’ll accept!

4) Selfies – People who want something in return to participate. #bribery can sometimes be the answer. These are the pals that aren’t exactly prone to employer branding events – just because they really want to see what’s in it for them. How will they benefit from it? And that’s perfectly fine! These aren’t the bad guys or gals, they just respect different things.

How to engage them? Give them something in return. Sometimes it’s a pat on the back, sometimes it’s a great looking photo of them while they’re holding a presentation, sometimes it’s the promise that thanks to their involvement they’ll get a perfect new recruit. 

5) Besties – People who’ll participate only because YOU yourself asked them to. We know you made a couple of besties at your workplace, and these are just the ones we’re talking about. You chat with them about your work and how it can be challenging to do some of your tasks due to the fact you depend on the kindness of strangers. And what are friends for than to lend a helping hand in need? They might throw a sarcastic remark here and there, but they did their part. Flawlessly, if we may add. 

How to engage them? Ask them about it over some after-work drinks. 

6) Stealthies – People who are willing to participate, but without their face, or name showing. The ones who are the stars who’ll gladly set up a stand at the conference, order a celebration cake, share your company posts, like your Slack notices, but they just like and value their privacy, and don’t want to commit to anything. 

How to engage them? Tell them they’re doing amazing, and that you appreciate their support!

7) Curious Ones – People who dislike the attention, but know the benefit of it. They sure are funny! People who complain the entire time, but provide their most honest smile to the camera and even brighter insights to the topic. Most of the time these are people who saw employer branding activities work in their favor, but can’t wrap their minds around why it works. These folks tend to write extraordinary blogs, but aren’t really prone to be in your company culture video

How to engage them? Tell them more about your day-to-day, and show them some of your employer branding and recruiting metrics.

8) Gloomy Ones – Never-will-I-ever-participate people! Again, not the villains. Some people just need a bit more persuasion. And for some… you can even be the best lobbyist there is and they just won’t budge. But feel free to learn why they are so against it. Are they maybe thinking about leaving the company? Are they unhappy with their job title? Do they think they are not photogenic? 

How to engage them? Some people are hard to crack, and some are impossible to… Choose your battles wisely. 

Final thoughts

Since it involves people, unfortunately, there’s not a practical step-by-step guide on how to engage them. However, knowing and building relationships with people you work with is always the key for great work outcomes – so why not build relationships for better employee engagement too? 

Good luck getting to know your people!