The ’employee turnover tsunami’ is real… what can brands do about it?
The ongoing ’employee turnover tsunami’ – a massive wave of employee turnover resulting from the pandemic – is an increasingly challenging phenomenon for brands.
Not a day goes by where I don’t receive an email about the effects of the massive number of employees changing jobs or the rights and wrongs of hybrid working.
It’s a challenge businesses and employees alike are facing across the globe – and there aren’t any easy answers.
What does psychological safety at work mean in a post-lockdown world? How can brands keep their employees happy and engaged while maintaining the required levels of productivity when teams aren’t in the same room anymore?
Make employees feel part of something special
One thing brands can do is work harder to foster a sense of community, not only between colleagues, but between brand and colleague as well.
As more and more companies wrestle with HR and talent retention, here at Togethr we’re talking to marketing and HR teams about what they can do to get employees to champion their brand via employee advocacy.
Involving employees in your brand marketing isn’t radical – they’ve always been the bridge between a brand and its customers. But now more than ever, employees need to be at the heart of customer interaction, online as well as off.
By involving employees, it helps to connect them to your brand and to each other. More than that, it creates an authentic connection with your customers.
Brand to customer communication can only go so far in terms of trust – but employee to customer communication is personal. In short, customers trust it more.
We believe the brands who work hand-in-hand with their employees will be the ones who help to make 2022 the year business truly recovers.
Empowered employees, empowered brand
According to a report by Stackla at the end of 2020, brand authenticity was a deciding factor for 90% of consumers making purchasing decisions.
This trend shows no sign of abating, with consumers making decisions based on whether brands clearly state they care about them and their priorities.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines authenticity as: ‘The quality of being real or true‘ – this is where brands lose out and individual employees win.
Employees are people, brands are entities. Authenticity and personalisation are at the heart of employee advocacy.
I’m not talking about 100s or 1000s of employees sharing the same post written by the brand. That isn’t employee advocacy.
I’m talking about employees being empowered and trained to share their personal expertise, knowledge, successes and challenges on social media – building their own reputations as well as that of your brand.
Our clients empower their employees to have a share of voice in terms of marketing and talent acquisition.
Authentic voices drive sales
There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to employee advocacy but they all share one common goal: to show what a brand stands for via the authentic voice of its employees.
This can happen on a small scale with a manual programme (where employees are encouraged to engage with customers on social media, for example) or on a much larger scale where employees of national and global consumer brands support customers as they consider purchases and give them advice on social media.
It’s becoming increasingly common – Electronic Arts, Zappos and Starbucks are all brilliant examples of how companies have brought employees on board to share company culture, connect teams to each other and their customers and build a strong internal network.
In B2B, employee advocacy is also about meeting customers where they are – on social media. Edelman Trust Barometer for the past two years has showcased that people believe company technical experts are the most credible source of information about a company when it comes to the decision making process.
Long standing examples of success include Dell, IBM and SAP. Former head of Dell’s program, Amy Heiss says this:
‘One of the big tenets of our social media and community training is that we want people to post 80% about topics that are informative, helpful and relevant to our customers or are personally interesting to our employees, stuff that reflects their own interests. Only 20% of the content they share should actually be about Dell.’
For HR and talent acquisition, brands are incorporating employee advocacy into their employer branding strategy, enabling employees to share jobs to their networks and shine a light on company culture and leadership to attract talent.
This is where the employee turnover tsunami and employee advocacy meet. You can bring everyone on board at your company to be a part of celebrating your successes. Employees feel part of something and create an authentic voice talking about what it means to work for your business business. They can reach out to customers and potential candidates with more personalised messaging.
Finally, it’s worth noting another trend supporting the push for more genuine, authentic marketing that caught my eye this week: Genuinfluencers.
The term was coined by trend forecasting company WGSN and I quite like it:
‘Predicted to be one of the biggest trends for 2021 and beyond, genuinfluencers are typically topic experts in a certain niche, whose followers are genuinely interested in what they have to say, trusting their knowledge and seeing their advice as valuable and relevant to their interests.’
Employees have voices – let them use them
Brands facing an employee turnover tsunami in 2021/22 can meet their own needs and those of their team by involving their employees in their marketing with an advocacy programme.
Not only can they foster a stronger sense of community and brand loyalty in-house but they can develop a more authentic brand voice on social media and drive more sales in the process.
Whether you get involved or not, changes are already happening. While the emphasis on brand storytelling remains, the story teller is changing.