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Employee-Generated Content
Discover the power of employee-generated content in creating an authentic and engaging employer brand that attracts and retains top talent.

What Is Employee-Generated Content?

In the business world, employee-generated content refers to content created by employees of a company themselves rather than being produced by a centralized HR or marketing department. It may be used internally or externally. Examples of employee-generated content include blog posts, videos, social media posts, photos, podcasts, and more. This type of content can help showcase the culture and values of the company or to highlight employee achievements and successes. Employee-generated content encourages engagement and participation. Giving employees a platform to share their ideas and perspectives helps them feel more connected to their company and invested in its success. However, it's important to note that any employee-generated content shared externally should be reviewed and approved by the appropriate department (such as HR or marketing) to ensure it aligns with the company's values and messaging.

Should Companies Permit Employee-Generated Content for Recruiting?

Ultimately, it's up to each company to decide whether employee-generated content is a viable option. If a company decides to allow employee-generated content, it's important to establish clear guidelines and processes for creating and sharing content to ensure that it aligns with the company's values and goals. Here are some pros and cons to consider before deciding to use employee-generated content.

Pros of Employee-Generated Content

  • Attract candidates. Using employee-generated content for recruiting can be an effective way to showcase your company culture and attract potential candidates.
  • Authenticity. Employee-generated content provides a more authentic view of the company culture and work environment, which can be appealing to job seekers. It humanizes the company and makes it more tangible and relatable.
  • Cost-effective. Employee-generated content is usually less expensive than professionally produced content.
  • Employee engagement. Encouraging employees to create content increases their engagement and investment in the company's success.
  • Increased reach. Employee-generated content can be shared on social media platforms and other channels, increasing its reach and potentially attracting a wider pool of candidates.
  • Growth opportunities. Employee-generated content provides opportunities to showcase their skills and expertise, which can lead to career development and advancement within the company.
  • Company-wide transparency can boost motivation, confidence, and sense of value within the company. This, in turn, contributes to improved employee retention rates and makes the company more attractive to new talent.

Cons of Employee-Generated Content

  • Potential for inconsistent messaging. Without clear guidelines and oversight, employee-generated content may not align with the company's messaging or branding. This can create confusion among potential candidates and harm the company's reputation.
  • Legal and compliance risks. Employee-generated content may unintentionally include confidential or sensitive information, violate copyright laws, or otherwise expose the company to legal and compliance risks.
  • Quality control. Without proper editing and quality control, employee-generated content may be of low quality or contain errors that reflect poorly on the company.
  • Lack of participation. Encouraging employees to create content may not always result in high levels of participation, and some employees may not feel comfortable or confident in their ability to create content.

Types of Employee-Generated Content

In the realm of social media, companies have a wide range of tools at their disposal to promote their brand and connect with their audience. Employee-generated content in particular provides an opportunity to showcase the company's culture and values in a variety of media formats. From behind-the-scenes photos and videos to industry insights and user-generated content, the possibilities are endless.

Behind-the-Scenes Photos and Videos

These types of posts provide followers a glimpse into what happens behind the curtain at the company. Examples include photos of the office space, team meetings, or company events, or videos showing employees at work, behind the scenes of a product launch, or even a day in the life of an employee. By sharing behind-the-scenes content, companies highlight their best feature: those who work there. It showcases the talent and expertise of the team and acts as a recruitment tool by showing what it's like to work at the company.

Employee Spotlights

This kind of content showcases the talent and personalities within a company. It typically involves featuring one or more employees in a post or series of posts on social media. It might include a simple photo and brief bio, a video interview, or a longer-form blog post. The focus is on highlighting the unique skills, experience, and perspectives that each employee brings to the company. This not only showcases the unique skills and experiences of current employees, it also demonstrates the potential for growth and career development within the organization (which makes this a prime tool for passive recruitment).

Company Culture Highlights

Sharing photos or videos of company events, team outings, or everyday life in the office puts the spotlight on your culture. The idea is to showcase the ways in which the company fosters collaboration, innovation, and creativity, and to demonstrate how the company values its employees. This helps followers understand the culture and values that drive the organization. One of the key benefits of company culture highlights is that they attract potential candidates who align with the company's culture. By sharing photos and videos of team outings or other company events, companies show how they value work-life balance and their employees' well-being. This can be especially effective for attracting candidates who prioritize a positive work culture over other factors.

Industry Insights or Tips

Employees sharing their expertise and industry insight can establish a company as a thought leader. By sharing industry insights and tips on social media, companies provide valuable information to followers and position themselves as experts in their field. This type of content builds credibility and trust in the brand and can even lead to increased customer loyalty.

Best Practices for Using Employee-Generated Content for Recruiting

Those looking to use employee-generated content for their business have a few things to consider in order to ensure that the content aligns with the company's values and messaging while showcasing the diversity and benefits of working at the company. Following these best practices can help to attract top talent to the organization and build a strong employer brand.

Provide Clear Guidelines

In the employee handbook or a similarly widely published resource, give employees clear guidelines on what types of content are appropriate and how to share them. This can help ensure that the content aligns with the company's values and messaging. Additionally, by communicating these guidelines clearly, you help protect your company and your employees from any potential legal or reputational risks. Here are some examples of what to include in guidelines.
  1. The types of content that are appropriate to share, such as photos, videos, blog posts, or social media updates.
  2. The messaging and tone that should be used in the content, such as emphasizing the company's mission, values, and culture.
  3. The platforms and channels where the content may be shared, such as the company's social media pages or a specific hashtag.
  4. Guidelines around privacy and confidentiality, such as not sharing sensitive or confidential information about the company or its clients.
  5. Best practices for engaging with followers, such as responding to comments and messages in a timely and professional manner.

Encourage Diversity and Inclusion

Involve employees from diverse backgrounds and levels of seniority to contribute content. This will showcase the diversity of the company's workforce and attract a wider pool of candidates.

Highlight Employee Benefits

Encourage employees to share their experiences with the company's benefits programs, such as health and wellness programs, professional development opportunities, and flexible work arrangements. For example, creating a specific hashtag (and encouraging employees to use it through raffles, prizes, etc.) for a workplace wellness event is a simple yet powerful way to publicize how the company values and invests in its workers.

Showcase Company Culture

This can be done by featuring photos of employees participating in team-building activities or enjoying flexible work arrangements. Additionally, you might offer a view into the day-to-day life of the average employee who enjoys their job. This provides viewers a glimpse into the company’s values while humanizing the company and providing a more authentic view of the culture.

Use a Mix of Content Formats

Encourage employees to share a mix of content formats, such as photos, videos, and blog posts. This can help to keep the content fresh and engaging for followers.

Recognize and Reward Employees

Recognize and reward employees who contribute high-quality content. This can help to incentivize employees to continue contributing and can build morale and engagement within the workforce. Establish a rewards program that recognizes employees who consistently create and share employee-generated content. Rewards could include gift cards, extra vacation days, or company swag.

Monitor and Moderate Content

Monitor and moderate employee-generated content to ensure that it aligns with the company's values and messaging and is appropriate and safe from any legal or reputation repercussions. Maintain a consistent brand image and prevent any negative or inappropriate content from being shared. Ideally, no inappropriate content will ever slip through to the public. However, if this were to occur, it is important to take prompt action. This may involve gathering evidence (such as a screenshot of the content), removing the content from all social media platforms, communicating to the employee to seek perspective and provide feedback, and following company policies and procedures surrounding inappropriate content. Such policies may include disciplinary actions, such as verbal or written warnings, depending on the severity of the content and the company's policies. It is also important to remain respectful to all involved parties by handling the matter confidentially, discreetly and professionally.
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Kayla Farber

Kayla Farber

Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.
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