The Employee-Generated Content Trends to Clock as We Head into 2023
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Changes in technology and new communication trends are continually transforming the employer branding landscape – so what’s making its mark as we march towards 2023?
Kelly Maguire, Employer Brand Partnerships Manager, and Madison Bailey, Head of Content Strategy, discuss the innovations we’re seeing on the EB stage as employee-generated content (EGC) drives talent attraction and retention strategies.
One of the big game-changers Madison and Kelly are seeing is companies allowing employees to drive the narrative.
“Whilst there is a place for a company EVP (employee value proposition), the verbiage in this type of messaging is often corporate jargon and may miss the mark,” Madison says. “However, content that is written in the voice of employees and discusses both the highlights and lowlights is perceived as far more genuine.”
“I’m seeing more companies weave EVP pillars within their messaging instead of pasting them across employees’ foreheads saying ‘THESE ARE OUR PILLARS’,” she explains. “Tell a story about how you encourage employees to Be Bold, rather than the story being ‘We Are Bold and Here's Why’.”
“The reality is, every role and company faces challenges,” Madison continues. “Having employees share their experience, without filtering it through corporate EVP language, means like-minded candidates will instantly feel trust with your brand as a potential employer. Think of it as when a customer gives an unfiltered review of a product: consumers are far more likely to trust this than collateral built by an in-house marketing team.”
According to Madison, another major trend impacting the EB space is companies segmenting and personalising their use of EGC to target very specific talent groups.
“Building up a library of content that is constantly growing and adapting means companies have the opportunity to target specific employee-generated content to candidates who are at different stages of the process, and who fit specific talent profiles,” she explains.
“For example, in addition to overarching testimonials, content is being produced that dives into specific roles, day-to-day projects, and the resources and technology employees have access to. This is invaluable in capturing the attention of the perfectly aligned candidate.”
The pandemic changed a lot for companies. We've seen a complete shift in the way we work and what top talent is really looking for to make a career move. In light of this, authenticity is key to standing out from the pack when it comes to EGC.
“Companies can no longer hide behind a curtain of happy hours, free lunches and swag as benefits for employees,” Kelly says.
“The more transparent and authentic brands can be when creating content around ‘Day in the Life’, ‘Company Culture’, ‘Career Path’ stories and ‘Messages from Leadership’, the better. No one wants to hear it's all rainbows and butterflies. No company is perfect but showing the everyday employee stories is what's going to help attract and retain the right talent aligned with a company's mission and values.”
“Storytelling also gives employees a platform to share their voices and connect around topics that might be more difficult to share, like mental health. Real employee stories on mental health can help prevent burnout and retention, and promote open and authentic conversation around what has historically been a taboo topic. This trend is not going anywhere and will continue to open the door for more authentic conversations in 2023.”
As we look ahead, digital technologies will play an increasingly critical role in creating and delivering EGC to the right audiences.
“From the skyrocketing use of video to innovative technologies for distributing content – it's clear the future is digital,” Madison says.
“Two of the top trends from 2022 that stood out to me (and I'm sure will stand the test of time in 2023) are the explosion of behind-the-scenes 'reels' and the use of dynamic widgets. Reels seem to be the hottest trend in content at the moment, and for good reason. They can be educational and entertaining at the same time, and they capture the attention of today's fast-scrolling audiences.”
“Quickly being adopted on many social media platforms, the format of a reel captures a mixture of 'talking head' and behind-the-scenes clips in short, sharp videos. They're really resonating with younger audiences, but professionals of all generations are enjoying the quick way to consume content that feels authentic and genuine as it's coming straight from the employees in a DIY fashion.”
“Widgets, too, are a very interesting trend. The old-school chatbots are getting smarter, and their functionality is evolving. Today's organisations now have the ability to communicate with talent in real-time by serving them content dynamically based on the page they're on and the keywords they're searching. As organisations create more employee-generated content, using widgets will become more impactful and will have the ability to 'wow' site visitors with a content journey that feels like it was designed specifically for them.”
When it comes to effectively promoting a company’s EVP through EGC, both Kelly and Madison circle back to that all-important element: people.
“Companies are realising they need to start from the inside out,” Kelly says. “So what are your existing employees saying about culture, work/life balance, leadership, and career advancement?”
“Employees are your golden ticket to making your EVP feel real,” adds Madison. “Getting employees to share your EVP starts with the initiatives you empower them to take part in. For example, if part of your EVP is that your workforce gets to partake in work that really makes a difference, then ensure they have exposure to the impacts of the work they're doing and encourage them to celebrate this with their network. I'm loving seeing employees who are posting to their own accounts and sharing the initiatives they're taking part in.”
“Also, speaking to people from all corners of your organisation, then empowering and enabling them to have a platform, gives a much wider variety of perspectives. Employer branding content should always be a cross-section of your people, from the most extroverted to the most introverted. Making use of new technologies that make this simple is an easy way to ensure everyone is being represented.”
As for companies that haven’t yet explored the potential of EGC, Kelly says there’s no time like the present.
“A lot of the time, the hardest barrier to entry is just getting started. Knowing what topics will resonate with candidates and what questions to ask advocates and so on. It can seem like a daunting task, especially for small EB teams – but happily, these days having the right tools in place to save you time and resources is actually easy!”