Over the last two to three months I have spent a lot of time working with people on either their employer or personal brand. These discussions have lead me to believe that most organisations are not thinking about how social media can impact their employer brand.
Organisations are spending vasts amounts of time and money ensuring that their employer value proposition (EVP) clearly articulates to the workforce benefits that are both emotive (feeling good about working here) and tangible (remuneration, benefits and career development) for current and prospective employees.
Traditionally an EVP reflects the external image that the organisation portrays to the workforce and is reflected in the actions and behaviours of public officers and by company policies, procedures and practices. In today’s world through social media, blog posts, tweets, and video are controlled by the public and remain in search engine caches for a very long time, if not forever!
I call this new world one of a “socially generated EVP”. And your socially generated EVP is not one you can control or predict in a traditional manner.
Today I read about a survey conducted by Weber Shandwick and the Economist Intelligence Unit which found that while 67% of executives felt their companies reputation was vulnerable online. However less than 40% analysed their own reputation and 70% were either unaware or did not want to admit employees have badmouthed the companies online. The full replort is available (PDF).
This calls for social media governance within the organisation. With social media being a grass roots activity you might question the need for governance. However without a good governance model, your employees and the organisation as a whole, is left open to abuse and potential legal issues. At a minimum, put down some “rules of engagement”, depending on your corporate culture, they can be simple or complex, preferably simple! Don’t forget that by engaging with your employees as part of the creation process of the governance model can create self-regulation.