According to data released by Pew Research Center, 35% of social media users have used social networks to look for or research jobs, while 21% have applied for a job they first found out about through social media. When it comes to employee advocacy, this could be cause for concern. After all, why would a company encourage its employees to share content and expertise, when doing so makes them more visible and attractive to other employers?
Are Employee Advocates Bait for Other Companies?
A key point to consider here is that very few people stay at one company for ever. Just as, traditionally, organizations have offered training and development programs to support employees’ professional development within the company and beyond, enabling employees to build a strong profile on social media is a key way of encouraging their professional development in the long term – not least because an increasing amount of recruitment takes place on social media.
Another, more immediate factor to take into account is the impact employees’ individual profiles have on the company they currently work for. Yes, their sharing activity helps them to build a successful personal brand that will enhance future job seeking efforts (the data released by Pew Research Center indicates that 13% of social media users say information they have posted has helped them get a job). But in the present, that sharing activity acts as a gateway for other social media users looking to connect with the company.
This group of users includes prospects who discover the company through insights shared by employees, clients who benefit from direct interaction from the employees they do business with, and candidates who, by conversing with current employees, are able to obtain a genuine impression of the company’s culture and values. This last point is particularly relevant in an employee advocacy context; 34% of social media users have used social networks to inform their friends about available jobs at their company (Pew Research Center).
Showcasing Employees’ Employability: More of a Help than a Hindrance
Having employees share content and initiate conversations on behalf of the company is therefore much more of an asset than a liability. The interactions employees get involved in, and the expertise they portray, reflects well not only on themselves, but also on their employer. Moreover, when employees actively communicate about their work on social media, it indicates that they enjoy and are engaged in what they do, and that the company is therefore one worth working with.