I have a great mate who runs a website http://www.vibevillage.com.au. In short, the site facilitates word-of-mouth marketing by linking new products to those individuals most likely to use them (who get the products for free and tell others about their experience via the website and social networks). The better the product, the more word-of-mouth spread by the recipients, the more products sold.
This principle of word-of-mouth marketing is just as powerful in the case of becoming an employer of choice.
This is particularly so with the prolific commentary that is shared amongst peer groups via Facebook, Twitter and blogs about the ups and downs of their day-to-day experience at work.
So what influences this story that’s being shared? We’d argue the level of Employee Connectedness (EC) an employee has.
A quick example: An organisation looks a million bucks – great graduate website, great employee website, leadership programs, quotes from the EO appear on written materials. But someone who knows someone told you that they’re no good to work for. A friend of a friend had a bad experience working for this employer and from what you read between the lines it wasn’t a one off experience.
The insider story is always going to be a really powerful force in making a decision about who to work for. The result is that an employers ’employee narrative’ becomes a destructive force in their pursuit to attract the best talent possible. Word-of-mouth promotion has a big impact at any time, but is even more influential in the current job market where young employees are only too able to exercise their freedom of choice when it comes to who they work for.
We recently gathered some data from young employees between the ages of 16 and 35 from a variety of industries. Two important things emerged regarding the link between EC and the ability of an org to attract and retain young talent. First, there was a statistically significant relationship between EC and a young employee’s intention to stay with their employer.
The second involved using our EC diagnostic to measure the relationship between EC levels and employee’s willingness to tell a positive story to friends and family about their employer (using a tool called the Net Promoter Score -NPS).
We found 28% of respondents were in the Detractors category – those who willingly tell a negative story about their employer. About 40% were in the Passives category – those who are ambivalent (neither positive or negative) about the story they tell about their employer. Lastly, about 30% of respondents fell in the Promoters category – those who willingly tell a positive story about their employer.
Most interestingly, we found that individuals self-reported levels of EC were strongly correlated with their NPS (.612 for those who are statistically minded!). With some more statistical work, we found that if the EC levels of the young employees in our data set were to increase by about 24%, statistically the following would occur –
- The number of employees in the ‘Promoter’ category would increase by 39%
- The number of Detractors would decrease by 16%
Becoming an employer of choice starts with ensuring existing staff are experiencing high levels of Employee Connectedness. Their positive stories will flow from the inside out – Facebook and Twitter will make sure of it!