- 3 x Company topics/questions any employee will have positive things to comment on
- 15 x Employees prone to sharing opinions
- 1 x Email requesting employees to share opinions/comments
- 1 x Smartphone video camera
- 1 x Spreadsheet column full of recurring Glassdoor comments
- 1 x Spreadsheet column listing the employee transcribed answers
- 1 x Video editing software (simple to use iMovie, WeVideo, MovieMaker, etc.)
- 1 x Executive or Sr. Management decision maker
- 1 x Company career page
When it comes to crafting the external impressions of what it’s like to work someplace, I always recommend the importance of telling an authentic story. Who better to tell what it’s really like than the ones living it – the company’s employees. However, this can sometimes be easier said than done, particularly with executives who fear the story may not fit the image they want their company to portray. This is one reason why CEO videos are so prevalent on career pages. Sadly, they are also mostly ignored by site visitors, who view this polished delivery as company propaganda.
Getting “front line” employees’ honest impressions onto the career page will greatly impact a prospect’s opinion of your company — in a positive way. If you find it difficult to get this kind of content approved, there’s probably a lack of trust by the exec. with their employees.
The balancing act between HR/TA and Corp. Communications is where this usually plays out (could be the CEO as well), and this can be challenging, but there are methods that can be used to overcome these hurdles.
This post examines a recipe for success when your goal is mobilizing employees to create authentic video content that not only serves to win great talent, but gets the green light from Marketing and Comms., too.
And it all starts with Glassdoor.
Glassdoor as a baseline for employment branding activities
Serious talent prospects researching your company will at some point go to Glassdoor to view what is said about your company (some are putting Glassdoor links on their Career Page). Knowing this, I advocate embracing these anonymous sentiments and comparing them to what actual current employees think about working at your company. Here’s how to do it.
Establish on your company Career Page an area where you indirectly support the positive Glassdoor comments, and shift any negative dialog with known positives you cultivate from your employees. For example, list the 3 things that you’re confident are viewed positively by most employees, or use the positive things mentioned on Glassdoor. It could be the natural light everyone basks in, monthly celebrations of company accomplishments or the number of smiles that employees encounter each day. Take these cool things about your company and think of questions that will clearly drive positive comments when put to employees.
Making it Real
One of the best and easiest ways to get employees involved is to make it fun. To set the stage, create a list of those front line employees (non-management) who are not afraid to voice their opinions. These are the outgoing people that ham it up, and have something to say about everything. Send them an email letting them know you’ll be stopping by their work area to ask them about your 2-3 positive topics.
Unpolished Video is Key
A sure fire way to make it fun is to grab your mobile phone and answer your own questions in a video selfie. Be sure to make your answers over the top fun (or get someone you know to be your guinea pig). When you get to your employees’ work area, to warm up your subjects, show them your video. Then turn the camera around, ask them the same questions and record their answers. Challenge them while you’re filming to outdo your example, but be sure to keep their response to 10 seconds or so. Also, be sure to keep the outtakes or do-overs as these can often be better than the planned out answers.
Here are a couple of ways you can frame your questions to get an interesting response:
- “With all the natural light, how many days a week do you need to bring SPF 50 to work for the best sun tan (wearing sunglasses while answering is optional)”
- “I know the Free Beer Fridays are important, but why did you really decide to join the company?”
The idea is to get as many employee video responses as possible (10-15 minimum); the more the better.
No doubt, if you follow this recipe you’ll get several impromptu and mostly unvarnished employee views from the people talent prospects trust the most. With very simple video editing software (Windows Movie Maker, WeVideo or iMovie are ridiculously easy to use), you can stitch your video clips together. With you asking the question off camera, with 10-15 ten second answers all edited one after the other, you will have a 60-120 second video for each set of positive comments you ask. This is the sweet spot for video length, and you now have employee generated content ready to place on your career site or to share on any other social media platform (Instagram, SnapChat, FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
The next step is getting your videos approved for use. This is where your Glassdoor content comes in. Copy the comments left by past and present employees on your Glassdoor comments into a spreadsheet. Transcribe the positive comments from your videos into text and place them in a column next to the Glassdoor comments. Then, get a meeting with your decision maker to review them. Regardless of the negative or positive nature of the Glassdoor content, your new content will shine bright by comparison. The objective is to get your decision maker to realize the value of your newly canvassed commentary. In this way, the bar is moved from whether the employee generated comments should be used, to how they will be used. Before being asked what you’re proposing to do, press play on your 2-3 edited videos and show them how transparent and authentic they are.
Mention that the lower resolution and less steady camera movements highlight that these videos are not company propaganda, but real employees telling it like it is. Let them know that 100M hours of this type of video quality is viewed on Facebook every day and it’s what your talent prospect audience expects to see. Finally, mention that 90% of serious candidates will research your company by poring over the Career Page and that these videos should be a key part in cementing their interest.
Where to use your Employee Generated Content?
As mentioned above, your videos can be of interest to talent prospects in your social channels, but by far the best place to use them is on your own company Career Page. Once a person begins to consider you as a potential next employer, the first thing they do will be to go to your website to check you out. A video from the CEO or your executives is nice, but prospects trust their message least. Unscripted videos from everyday employees will be trusted the most and can generate a great amount of interest for prospects thinking about making an application.