Companies seeing benefits of involving employees in company advocacy

With research showing that eighty-four per cent of employees regard the reputation of an employer as an important consideration when deciding to apply for a job, it is not surprising that an increasing number of companies are paying more attention to employer branding and involving employees in projecting the company’s activities.

This benefits and positivity that emanate from this approach was clearly demonstrated during a Shannon Chamber webinar hosted in association with Beckman Coulter and Neptune Brand Consultancy during which attendees learnt that companies with a strong employer brand enjoy a fifty per cent lower cost to hire, can attract fifty per cent more qualified applicants and recruit twice as fast.

However, as Neptune Brand Consultancy founder Gary Neville stated: “Before commencing any employer branding activity, a company needs to establish the one key quality they most want to be associated with as an employer and then prepare tailored marketing content and activities that can be easily communicated by employees.

“Research has shown that the employee’s voice is three times more credible than the CEO’s when talking about the work environment, whilst content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement and is shared twenty-four times more frequently than that which emanates from the brand network,” stated Neville.

Beckman Coulter’s director of Human Resources, Karen Kelly, firmly believes that employees are key to the success of an employer through engaging employees to become ambassadors for the company by sharing the company’s story, their vision and mission and what is important for the organisation. This can be very powerful.

The O’Callaghans Mills, Co Clare facility has had many identities since it first opened in 1987 as Flemming Gmbh, becoming Olympus Diagnostics Gmbh in 1989 and ultimately being acquired by Beckman Coulter in 2009.  With such a diverse brand history, the team in O’Callaghan’s Mills knew the company suffered from brand confusion, particularly when they were attending jobs fairs seeking to attract employees. Beckman Coulter is a fun, innovative and progressive company and now has 500 people working at the company’s facility situated on 120 hectares of land in O’Callaghans Mills, Co Clare.

Beckman Coulter’s engagement with the public through its employees has been through multiple corporate social responsibility undertakings, through campaigns inspiring students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and through inviting local secondary level students to undertake STEM assignments in the company. On-site sustainability projects are very much part of the site’s identity e.g., water recycling, growing and felling own timber for heat, having a wormery waste treatment plant, beehives on site and many additional environmental projects which involve employees are ongoing. The company has received a variety of awards recently for sustainability, investment in Ireland and employee health and wellbeing.  

“Employer branding is now a well-known top topic internally in Beckman Coulter,” stated Karen Kelly.

“We have developed an internal community notice board where we post all articles, stories and media coverage. We try and include a number of people from different backgrounds and with different areas of expertise in the articles. One of the charities we support even came on site, pre COVID, to personally thank our employees for their all contributions and to outline how monies would be put to good use at the charities facility.

“All of this activity involving employees has resulted in the staff projecting our story and has become synonymous with engagement, wellness, career development, and a positive team culture. Over the past 2 years, we have filled 150 positions from areas we have never before reached and our hiring managers have noted a marked difference in applicants for highly technical, scientific roles, which are key to the development of new products. It’s very rewarding to hear a new hire saying they have been waiting two years for the position they now have. Focusing on employer branding has really supported driving pride with our internal associates and brand recognition externally at a critical time of expansion,” added Ms Kelly.

Summing up the takeaways from this webinar, Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes added: “Communication is a critical component of engagement. What this event has taught us is that prior to communicating to an external audience, companies should look to their internal audience first and that employer branding is not just for the larger company; the logic and format of the communications is the same for all companies, regardless of size.”

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