A recent survey released by CareerBuilder shows that according to recruiters, hiring the wrong talent for a position costs nearly $17,000 on average. This is one of the main reasons why all companies should invest in an employer branding strategy that allows them to find the best talent.

Hiring the wrong people costs money. It also has a negative impact on employees’ morale and productivity, and the impacts can last a long time. Re-hiring people to fill a vacancy will also take additional time and money, and resources will have to be re-allocated to train and onboard the new hire. To decrease bad recruitments and attract the right talent immediately, it’s vital for companies to create a strategy around their employer branding, especially on social media. We chatted with Jörgen Sundberg, founder and CEO of the employer branding agency Link Humans about the best practices for attracting and retaining the right talents:

Hi Jörgen, you have founded the employer branding agency Link Humans in London back in 2009, can you tell us a bit more about yourself, what’s your story?

I’m originally from Stockholm and I’ve been based in London for 15 years. I started out doing tech recruitment which made me realise that some employers are much more attractive than others – for reasons other than money. I set up Link Humans to help companies attract and retain the right staff, I just didn’t know this activity was called employer branding!

profile photo of jorgen sundberg

According to you, why is it crucial for companies to build their employer brand online, especially on social media?

Using social media is a cost-effective way to reach talent, as it offers great targeting capability as well as real-time reporting.

For candidates, it provides a quick way to sum up an employer outside of their website and offers the opportunity to interact and ask questions before firing off an application.

Employees can be encouraged to share company and industry-related content with their networks – How does Employee Advocacy on social media help to attract the right talents?

Every company has corporate social media channels where they talk about how great they are. These feeds are overseen by PR, communications, HR, a social media team etc. I question how authentic this communication really is.

With Employee Advocacy, you flip this, and it’s the people make up the organisation, who do the talking. There isn’t anything new in this, but when you train, encourage and enable employees with a piece of technology, it gets easier to do this at scale. And crucially, it gets easier to measure the impact of Employee Advocacy.

Related: Recruitment vs. Talent Acquisition – Is There a Difference? (Yes.)

Once the company has attracted the right talents, the next challenge is to keep them engaged. How does Employee Advocacy support a talent retention strategy?

Have a look at the various culture hashtags, e.g. #salesforceohana or #adobelife and you’ll see how individuals and teams post on social about all sorts of topics from office life to events and to training sessions. This creates a community inside a company, especially in large organisations where social media can be a place that links staff from different offices, functions and time zones.

Based on your experience, what are the key steps for developing a successful Employee Advocacy program on social media?

First of all, you have to trust your people. Forget banning your staff from social media or setting strict rules around its usage. Your employees will rise to the challenge, trust me.

Provide training around best practices, identify your early adopters and invite them to present to others. Encourage your staff to make progress even if the steps would be small.

Keep the program alive with a leaderboard, gamification, and incentives. Some people will do Employee Advocacy anyway, others are encouraged by stimulation and then some won’t participate at all which is absolutely fine.

Measure results and report back on your progress, and don’t forget to celebrate successes internally and thank your collaborators.

In Employee Advocacy: The ultimate handbook, you share best practices for measuring the ROI of an Employee Advocacy program. Which ones should be taken into account to measure the impacts on talent acquisition?

Well here’s the million dollar question. Employee Advocacy is likely to boost follower numbers, engagement numbers and reach on social media, However, what matters is that potential applicants can get a feel of an organisation from the outside and decide if it’s for them. We’ve developed the Employer Brand Index which takes stock of everything being said about your organisation in an employment context across social media, employer review sites, forums, and blogs.

What’s your #1 tip for launching an Employee Advocacy program?

I’d say first of all don’t jump on to the latest shiny tech trends before you’ve actually devised a strategy for your Employee Advocacy program.

Employee Advocacy has to come about naturally. If you have a great culture on the inside, it’s going to manifest itself on social media to the greater world. If you don’t have a great culture, start with tackling that instead.

Read more: Six Steps to Launch an Effective Employee Advocacy Program

About Jörgen: Jörgen Sundberg is an HR, talent acquisition and employer branding expert. He has managed talent attraction and acquisition campaigns for large companies such as Accenture, Deloitte, SAP, and IBM. In 2009, Jörgen founded Link Humans, a London-based Employer Branding agency to help companies improving their employer branding strategies. Follow Jörgen on Twitter and LinkedIn!

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