Social media is a necessity. At this point, every business in the world knows this. There may be a million different theories and strategies of how to execute corporate social media, but one thing that will be a constant in all of them is amplification. For any social media program to be successful, content needs to be shared. Easier said than done, right? Well, it may be easier than you think if you put your focus on turning you employees into fans of your brand

Writing over at Blogging4Jobs , Shannon Smedstad says that not enough companies have built cultures that will encourage their employees to connect with them through social media and then engage by sharing content. These companies have made their employees fans, and fans want to engage on social media.

“Encourage your teams to like, share, retweet, or comment on postings that they enjoy,” Smedstad says. “Better yet, ask them to participate in content generation: take photos, submit blog posts, design e-cards, or tag photos with a company-specific hashtag so that your corporate handles can retweet.

“Let’s say you are an organization of 2,500 people strong. If each person shared just one or two postings a week, just think how far that could go to increase awareness of your employer brand and career opportunities!”

Turning former employees into brand ambassadors

That’s great advice. All companies should be aiming to build that kind of culture, but they should actually be going a step farther. They should be building the kinds of cultures that cause alumni to remain fans even after they are no longer employed.

While turning former employees into supportive alumni has always been a good business practice, the ability of employees to share their opinions publicly on social media has made this practice critical. It’s vital to foster a positive relationship, even with employees who leave the organization when their positions are eliminated.

This mindset must begin early in the employee life cycle and continue even after the employee has left the organization. Creating a culture based on loyalty, trust and mutual respect will ensure that when employees leave the organization they will be less likely to leave angry and resentful. In a best-case scenario, they may even be appreciative of the relationship. They will be more than former employees; they will be alumni – and brand ambassadors.

To build brand ambassadors and potentially increase social media amplification, companies must do five things:

Be transparent

When companies are clear about their goals – and transparency about those goals comes from the top – employees feel empowered. They are more confident in what they are doing, feel more valued by the organization, and feel trusted.

When there is transparency and trust, difficult decisions are easier to announce. When difficult messages are communicated, such as elimination of positions or even a large downsizing event, employees are more likely to understand the motivating factors that led to the decision. Even if they don’t like the situation, it is less likely that they will foster resentment and anger toward the organization – even when one of the eliminated positions is their own.

Facilitate mobility

Alerting employees to opportunities within the organization improves retention and builds employee loyalty. This practice helps employees feel like the organization truly cares about them and their career development.

Fostering internal mobility allows teams to communicate and collaborate more effectively. By increasing the knowledge base of one employee, management also increases the knowledge base of the team to which that employee belongs--which increases the knowledge base of the organization as a whole.

Prioritize redeployment

When a large organization restructures, it can eliminate positions in one division at the same time it hires in another. But because various parts of such an organization can operate in silos, a division that is hiring may not be aware that, on the other side of the company, there are talented people now available for key positions.

Taking those people whose positions are being eliminated from one part of the company and placing them in the open positions in another area reduces both severance and recruiting costs.

Communicate authentically

The day someone finds out his or her position is being eliminated typically is a very emotional one. In one-on-one notification conversations, it is important for the managers to keep the employee’s feelings in mind. They need to deliver the news quickly but with compassion, and they need to be compassionate without commiserating.

Provide assistance

Employees whose positions are being eliminated should be treated with dignity and respect. Whenever possible, they should be provided assistance with the transition, including a severance package that will help them bridge the gap financially as they look for new roles. They deserve an outplacement program that will be valuable and effective in facilitating a smooth and quick transition.

For more on turning former employees into brand ambassadors, download our ebook Turning Former Employees into Brand Ambassadors.

21 August 2014

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