Our employer brand is really important to us, and it also helps when it comes to hiring and retaining employees. However, we’ve noticed that standard HR marketing doesn’t quite cut it these days. It’s easy for potential employees to easily ignore or miss our ads. But how can we boost our employer brand if usual marketing activities don’t work anymore?
The answer is our employees, our brand ambassadors. We have found that by engaging and supporting our employees they naturally spread the word about their job and the company they work for. To help with this, we have created our own Ambassador Program. From YSofters to YSofters (with love, obviously).
Why we set up the Ambassador Program:
- We want to thank active YSofters for their efforts in Y Soft brand advocacy
- We want to encourage YSofters to continue to help to create an authentic employer brand
- This is a great opportunity to support YSofters personal brand, improve their skills, and even step out of their comfort zones
The program we created has two main pillars – support and award. We are already working on a third pillar which will be focused on training – we’ll let you know more about this once it’s in place.
Support – Creating the Playground
Way before we launched the Ambassador Program we used to take part in many employer branding-related activities. From attending local job fairs, speaking at conferences, to organizing internal events, you name it, we did it. However, we rarely measured the effectiveness of these activities. We often struggled to get YSofters to participate and it turned out that many were unaware of the opportunities available to them. To change this, we created an extensive list of ambassador activities and explained how anyone can get involved.
Our Ambassador List has over 20 various brand activities to suit both extroverts and introverts. It includes tasks and activities of all sizes, such as event organization, public speaking, and sharing Y Soft-related posts on social media. It also includes activities focused on our internal audience that we call “YSofters for YSofters” or Y4Y and often includes organizing small events for colleagues. Our existing employee referral scheme is also included in the Ambassador Program.
We launched our program in March 2020, and so far we can report that:
- The top three most popular activities are:
- Sharing posts on social media
- Extraordinary activities, such as a team quiz
- Speaking at external events
- YSofters have so far picked over 100 items from exclusive merch
- The most engaged department is R&D
- Our Brno teams are currently the most active
Simply having all activities listed, presented, and accessible helped to build awareness of the program. We also approached individuals with opportunities for participation.
Here are a few of the things we did that enhanced our engagement:
- Make and share a list of conferences, events, and meetup speaking opportunities
- Suggest potential topics to write about for the company blog or social media channels
- Prepare internal challenges to encourage employees to share brand posts on social media
- Individually created swag exclusive for the best brand ambassadors
Award – Recognizing the Best Players
Each Ambassador Program activity is awarded Ambassador Points. The amount is calculated based on the difficulty, quality, and overall merit of the activity. YSofters collect points until they have the amount that gives them opportunity to choose from exclusive merch. To make this appealing, we created a range of exclusive Y Soft swag and promoted it internally. This helped to get their attention and made them ask “What do I need to do to get this swag?”.
After two years of having the swag in place, it has been interesting to see which items are the most popular. Some items are very limited, such as one of our favorites, the recognition letter signed by our CEO Václav describing what an amazing employee you are.
One thing we have learned is to think twice about what you put on the list. You need a broad range of options for employees to choose from. From smaller items that are easier to achieve through to exclusive items for your top ambassadors. Don’t forget to discuss your choices and possibilities with the finance department first!
It always makes us happy to see how YSofters are proud of their swag. Collecting enough points to have the chance to wear a branded Y Soft hoodie turned into a pretty competitive game. These hoodies became the most-worn pieces of some of our colleague’s wardrobes. Don’t forget to keep people engaged and motivated, so keep changing the collection of swag to give something else to aim for.
We want to take the Y Soft Ambassador Program to the next level. As mentioned above, we plan to focus on the third pillar, training. We plan to have a volunteer group of key ambassadors and provide them with training to boost their skills and knowledge. This is all part of our overall goal for the Ambassador Program to support YSofters in their professional growth, strengthen their personal brand, and encourage them to represent Y Soft. Watch this space.