Employer branding is a relatively new discipline within talent attraction. The term was only coined in 1995, but since then the world has undergone a technological transformation. As a result, we are still discovering and exploring new ways to tell and share the stories that help us improve our chances of attracting talent.

Which channels to use? How to tap into employee content? How to measure ROI?  As Director of Employer Brand at Indeed I’m lucky enough that I get to think about these possibilities every day and call it work. But I’m also lucky enough to know some recruitment marketers and employer brand storytellers at other firms who are tackling the same questions.

When it comes to employer brand, we can all learn from one another in this relatively tiny ecosystem. So recently I decided to ask some of these practitioners some critical questions related to employer branding today. I spoke with leaders at Delta Air Lines, T-Mobile, HomeAway, Banfield Pet Hospital and the consulting firm Proactive Talent. You can probably pick out some themes that apply to retail, hospitality, telecom, tech and most likely every other industry

We’ll be sharing more juicy answers related to employer branding in future posts, but for the first of these virtual roundtables, I asked a simple question: What’s your approach to employee-generated content curation versus creation?

Identify key influencers to boost the audience

Noelle Holdsworth, Employer Brand Manager at T-Mobile

Our people are our brand, and who better to express who we are than the people who live and breathe the roles every day? We have employees across the nation, and so social media provides an organic place for our team members to foster relationships and even engage directly with our senior leadership team (most of whom are active on social media themselves).

We identify key influencers from our employee base to help boost the audience for some of our content and to give us a view into what are our audience’s interests. For example, we launched our largest employee-generated social campaign this year with the #LiveMagentaChallenge. Employees had already been using the hashtag amongst themselves to share how they were integrating work and home life, and we wanted to build on the momentum they had developed and bring it to an even larger audience by boosting the employees’ posts.

We saw terrific engagement with the posts we boosted, and even more people chose to participate in the challenge. We also leverage some of these influencers for other employer brand projects, such as video testimonials, where our approach is to put the employee out in front as a representative of the brand — all we ask is that they bring their passion and insight to what they record, and then it’s our job to set up their content for success.

Employee advocacy tools can boost social sharing of relatable content

Allison Dunsmore, Senior Specialist Employer Branding at Banfield Pet Hospital

Employee-generated content has been somewhat of a challenge for us to capture. Due to the nature of our industry, we have to take several precautions when asking our associates to film or photograph themselves in the back of the hospital. In no way do we want to publicize private client information or feature client pets without authorization.

By emphasizing the importance of employee-generated content, we have made headway in working with our leadership and legal teams. We recently partnered with (social media management platform) Hootsuite to use their employee advocacy tool Amplify where our People & Organization (HR) members can share our approved content.

We are also exploring other platforms that help to collect and push out employee-generated content because we all know the most relatable information comes from someone actually in the job!

Mixing curated and created content

Tiffany Lee, Global Talent Brand Manager at HomeAway

We like to have a mix. We always encourage employees to use the hashtag or @Mention us, to help with content creation. Other times we use our Slack channels to find people contributing content, or people who are particularly prolific — speaking at conferences, holding team events, etc. It really just ebbs and flows.

When we are a sponsor of an event or conference, we’ll interview people before or after the event to see what they’re excited about learning and how they plan to apply their learnings to their day to day at HomeAway. We like to video people about their team and a day in the life. We just opened another office in Madrid and one in Austin, and everyone goes crazy for that content. And our blogs are usually employee led or we interview them.

We also distribute content through an advocacy tool to employees — that’s curated third-party content + HomeAway mentions + created content by our team. We still haven’t done any account takeovers due to bandwidth, but we have a team in Madrid ready to do it this quarter!

Incorporating employer branding into onboarding

Holland McCue, Head of Global Employer Branding at Delta Air Lines

We are lucky in that we have 80,000+ employees who are #DeltaProud. We are currently experimenting with ways to draw more awareness to this hashtag and create a culture of employees sharing their career stories.

One way we are doing this is by creating a call to action in our Day 1 Guide that all new hires receive. The call out highlights our social policy and how employees can/should share career moments that they are proud of with their families, friends and colleagues on social.

James Ellis, Podcaster and Lead Employer Brand Consultant, Proactive Talent

So I'm probably in the minority here because I don't think I control the narrative. I think at best I can influence the narrative by inserting my talking points and stories into the broader conversation rather than policing what's allowed to be said.

This is because, when I was at Groupon, I don't think I built our employer brand. I revealed what was already there. As such, I don't feel the need to worry about blind adherence to the talking points (at least, not as much as comms might). If I've created an authentic brand, people already believe what I'd established, so they will keep doing/saying what they've been doing/saying already.

My role is to provide better framing so that the things that align have more power and the things that don't don't feel congruent and are dismissed/downgraded.