Experts advise companies to take an active role in employee development: helping employees build their personal brand can result in increased exposure and positive word of mouth, not to mention happier and more engaged employees.
We asked four leadership and career development experts for their insights on how to support employee’s personal branding by asking them one key question:
What are your top 3 tips for helping employees develop their thought leadership and build a strong personal brand on social media?
Let’s jump right into their answers!
Jane Jackson — Career Management Coach, Author, Speaker, Blogger and Podcaster
For employee engagement, it is essential for companies to ensure that employees feel like they are valued members and key contributors to the success of the business.
My top 3 tips to help employees develop their thought leadership and build a strong personal brand on social media are:
- Value every employee as an individual with valuable insights, experiences and ideas to share. Employees are the ones who interact daily with customers and clients, understand their needs, and then work diligently to overcome their problems. Encourage employees to share their experiences and ideas in meetings and forums. Acknowledge and allow them to continually develop their communication, presentation and speaking skills by providing them with the opportunity to present their valuable knowledge in front of their peers, senior management, clients or customers.
- Encourage and empower employees to write articles on their areas of expertise and consider publishing them in the company newsletter and online platforms – ideas that best reflect their professional knowledge and are in alignment with the company values. Suggest to employees to set up a personal blog where they feel confident in developing content that will demonstrate their thought leadership. Make it a policy that opinions are heard and acknowledged as points for debate and discussion.
- Empower employees to provide their own insights, ideas and suggestions within their areas of expertise, so that they can build their personal brand by submitting relevant articles and blog posts for inclusion on platforms such as company newsletters and LinkedIn Pulse. Not only that, they should also continue to build their brand as a professional in their industry by sharing relevant company and industry news from other influencers in their field on their social media channels, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Medium. By sharing not only their own thought leadership but also that of others in complementary positions, they can build their personal brands as influencers who not only create but also share content of value to readers.
Karen Gately — Author, Speaker, Advisor and Educator in human performance and leadership
- Reflect for a moment on what your social media posts say about you.What values and beliefs are reflected, and to what extent are people likely to regard you as being fair and reasonable?
- Reflect also on the value you are creating through the information you share.Build a reputation of being a person with intelligence and thoughtfulness by sharing information that others are likely to benefit from.
- Never lose sight of the permanency of online posts – once you’ve said it, it’s impossible to take it back. Choose to have an unfounded rant and you’re likely to be judged harshly by the (at times) unforgiving world of social media.
Mukul Deva — Motivational & Leadership Keynote Speaker and Coach on leadership, strategy, influencing skills, change management, innovation and high-performing teams
Historically, respect and opportunity for learning, development, and growth are factors that keep employees engaged and motivated. With that reality clearly established, it is imperative that all organisations focus on the continuous development of their personnel. In our work with dozens of organisations (governments, MNCs and not for profit), we help leaders to focus on some simple, yet very effective actions:
- Every leader has a one-to-one conversation with their direct reports, ideally monthly, and at the very least, every alternate month. During this conversation, they should specifically check if that person feels they are learning/growing and what training or upskilling they would find useful.
- Make such training available to the individual, whenever possible.
- Ensure that in addition to such individual training requests, suitable action is taken to ensure that people are overcoming new challenges, and hence learning new things.
- Encourage everyone to have a learning journey buddy - someone they can bounce ideas off, and who helps them stay committed to their individual learning needs.
- Lastly, and equally importantly, the most high-performing teams go through some form of joint training at least once every quarter. Three of these can be short, if time and budget are a constraint, but at least one of them must be over the day to ensure that teams get due pause for reflection, new skills, and getting to know each other better.
Karen Leong — Director of Influence Solutions, and author of “Win People Over – 75 Simple and Powerful Ways to Influence Anyone”
In today’s highly competitive business environment, where “disruption” is the new reality, it is increasingly essential for companies to create a culture of pro-activeness, empowerment and innovation. Here are 3 ideas to help employees develop thought leadership:
- Create platforms for employees to train, speak and share ideas. This can include a 5-minute skill sharing moment as part of regular meetings, encouraging people to volunteer their skills at formal training programmes, or representing the company as a speaker at events and conferences.
- Help people see the value of personal branding – It will naturally help boost the organizational brand. To do so, make it as much about the people as the organization. Great ideas include celebrating individual and team wins on the organisation’s social media pages; featuring people who are doing meaningful work and making an impact in the organization.
- Leverage innovative ways to develop talent. Known as an authority on influence, I regularly work to empower women leaders. One innovative way of developing women leaders is to match them to sit on the boards of not-for-profit organisations where they can hone their leadership skills and enable them to make an impact at the same time. This is also a powerful CSR opportunity boosting both the employee’s personal brand, and organizational brand.