This year, the war for talent is heating up as the unemployment rate continues to drop, now reaching the lowest it’s been in decades (3.6 percent). One effective way to win the war? Cultivating employees who are brand advocates.

Brand advocates are employees who spread the word about their positive experiences in the workplace and refer top talent to open positions. This extra support is extremely beneficial in today’s challenging recruitment climate.

Here are six ways to turn your employees into brand advocates:

1. Encourage them to speak up

First, remember that a brand advocate will need the opportunity to speak. Even the happiest of employees may not feel encouraged to share in the current environment, so make it clear that their individual voice matters, and give them opportunities to talk about positive experiences in the company. This could be a formal discussion during working hours, a survey, or an informal meeting. Whatever it is, it will get employees thinking and talking, which will lead them to share positive words about your company both inside and outside of the workplace.

2. Don’t micromanage

Once you have advocates engaging, don’t attempt to control or coerce what they say. It’s crucial that their message is genuine and personal, and it won’t be as effective if you’re feeding them lines. As HubSpot points out, you should encourage employees to develop their personal brand first and foremost, which will in turn strengthen how the company is perceived.

3. Educate about best practices

Another important part of empowering brand advocates is educating them on compliance and other potential issues. The SHRM says that brand advocates should follow the same rules and regulations that recruiters follow, since speaking out for the company brand is a pretty big responsibility. There are certain dos and don’ts to protect the company, especially on outlets like social media.

4. Recognize advocates

A great way to keep brand advocates motivated to spread the word is to recognize them. Company meetings can be great places to provide this recognition, even if it’s just a PowerPoint slide showing what they’ve done for the company brand or a simple mention in your weekly team email blast. This practice could also encourage other employees to become brand advocates, so it’s great to proactively explain what that “role” entails.

5. Create shareable content

Without micromanaging, as mentioned above, it’s perfectly acceptable and effective to offer up content from the company that’s easily shareable for brand advocates. When sending out newsletters or emails, make it easy to share a key point or a positive statistic. Create posts on social media that employees will want to repost or adapt into their own posts. This is a great way to get even more employees involved.

6. Monitor for good candidates

Finally, make sure you’re paying attention to employees that would make great brand advocates. Workers may not know what a brand advocate is or they may not know how to get the word out about their great experiences. Notice employees who are excelling, who project positive attitudes and are involved in activities within the company. These could be the leaders you need to engage to spread the word.

These six strategies will help you turn employees into brand advocates that can help you win the war for talent. These individuals are invaluable in their ability to build up a positive reputation for the company while encouraging referrals and other recruitment wins.

If you’re interested in more actionable strategies to help your business win the war for talent, don’t miss our upcoming webinar: How to Win the War For Talent: Actionable Strategies to Attract and Retain Top Talent at Your Business

For this webinar, we’ve assembled a team of superstar serial entrepreneurs to give you their best first-hand tips and tricks on how you can build and retain a team of top performers at your business. Space is limited, register now to save your seat!

About the Author

Carolyn Kick is the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Launchways. Launchways helps growing companies get the people side of their business right. Launchways offers strategic solutions for Human Resources, Payroll, Employee Benefits, and Business Insurance. Please visit www.launchways.com to learn more.