Encouraging and supporting your employees' personal branding has numerous benefits for the business and individuals alike.
The vast majority of employees are not stimulated or fulfilled at work. Globally, only 15 percent of workers are engaged professionally, reports Gallup. Engagement boosts efficiency, as research by the University of Warwick finds happy workers are 12 percent more productive. If you want your business to increase productivity and engagement for your staff, an effective way to do so is by supporting your employees' personal brands. Some ways to do this include:
- Creating an employee spotlight feature on your blog, where you interview employees regularly and give them a chance to show off their personal endeavors
- Promoting an employee initiative in an in-office email newsletter or on a company message board
- Sharing social media updates directly from employee accounts that are relevant to your brand's followers
- Offer opportunities for growth, such as access to industry education
Rather than taking away from your business, backing your employees and their personal branding efforts adds more to your business in ways including better referrals, increased exposure and improved results for your business. Here is why you should make an effort to build better relationships with your employees by supporting their personal branding efforts.
Better Exposure for Your Business
Personal branding often relies heavily on one's professional identity, as workers typically spend at least 35 percent of their waking hours at work. Professional networking site LinkedIn has more than 500 million members on it. As your employees add your business name to their social networking profiles, their personal blog bio, and any other title where they have a presence (conferences, interviews, etc.), by showing appreciation for employees' efforts outside of work, you'll ensure your brand is tied to more positive events.
Ways you can pass on personal branding growth opportunities to employees include:
- The ability to attend lunch-and-learns that might extend beyond the typical allotted lunch times. For example, a weekly Toastmasters International group that takes a couple hours may be deemed acceptable for an employee to attend since it's educational.
- Guest speaking spots. Your executive team is likely invited to speak often on panels or to networking groups. For events you won't be attending, offer them up to employees to represent your brand.
- Conference attendance. The value of conferences is what attendees strive to get out of them. Allow employees to attend conferences they're interested in personally, but ask them to report back on how what they've learned can be applied to their jobs, too.
Sending on notes that include local networking events, industry-related webinars and free courses present other ways for your business to encourage employees to build their personal brand -- and yours as a result.
Positive Word of Mouth for Your Business
If you want to retain employees and increase the likelihood of valuable referrals for your business, fostering a strong relationship is key. Sharing an employee's blog link on your LinkedIn profile, or recognizing an employee's outside-of-work accomplishment at the next staff meeting, helps improve employee sentiment. Research shows a good relationship with a manager gives an employee a better sense of job security than getting a higher salary. Sharing personal branding efforts of employees costs little to no money but provides better returns.
Your employees are representatives of your business not just to other professionals in the community, but to their closest friends and peers. If an employee feels valued by you, their employer, they'll be more likely to share those positive experiences with those closest to them. Valuable employees who speak highly of your brand can result in better hires for your company.
Improved Results for Your Business
Having respected personal brands for your employees provides more growth potential for your business. Some examples include:
- An employee who contributes to the community in other ways and garners admiration can translate that positive sentiment to your business, which keeps you at top of mind
- Substantial social media followings for an employee may mean that your business name is attached to those profiles, which increases your brand reach
- The ability to grow one's personal brand makes an employee feel more esteemed by the business, which increases happiness, which increases productivity and sales for you
Even just keeping an employee happy and at their job means cost savings to you, since for workers earning less than $50,000 each year, the typical turnover cost is 20 percent of the salary. For employees making more, costs are even higher.
Start Spotlighting Employee Brands
You can immediately start practicing support for the personal brands of employees. Using an employee News Feed like the one offered by Smarp allows your business to encourage more discussions among employees and forge deeper connections. Make sure your brand social media accounts are following employee social media accounts and sharing updates from them if they're relevant. If content an employee has created on their personal site, such as a blog or a video, can be used or linked to on your own blog, do so.
Make it a priority to share industry-related networking opportunities and conferences with employees. The more they grow, the more your business will, too.