Talent management has been a topic of conversation in the 100 years I've been in a professional offiice setting. Okay, it hasn't really been 100 years, it just feels like it. Add on six years as an officer in the US Army, where we talked about succession planning and suddenly I feel almost qualified to be a HR Manager.
Fast forward to the present. I'm the founder and managing partner of an Inbound Marketing agency with a flair for turning organizations who are digitally naive into digitally native. That means I have to have people on my team who live, eat, breathe and dream about marketing funnels, SEO, social content and hashtags. And coffee. Never forget the coffee.
How do I get that team assembled and motivated?
Well, we employ the Inbound Methodology in our talent recruitment and brand ambassador program: Attract, Convert, Close, Delight. Yes, it works for hiring and staffing too, and if you're interested in building a similar program, then, take notes: teaching employees to be brand ambassadors is the blog post for you!
Teaching an old dog new tricks isn't impossible, it's just the lowest of the low on an agency owner's to-do list. That's why I'm a firm believer in developing a content strategy that will attract the type of employees who are predisposed to being a brand ambassador. Every new application or inquiry I receive immediately gets put through the, "how Googleable are they?" test. Which sounds much better than, "I go stalk them on every available social network."
If I see someone active on Twitter who has an abundance of opinions I pay attention. If most of those are negative though, I rarely move forward. My thoughts are if you can't find something good to say, then at least say something more than, "you suck!" Similarly, if they have a habit of posting only negative reviews on Yelp! or other review sites it may be that they are never happy and therefore, no matter how great the environment will be at Verge Pipe Media, that employee isn't going to say good things or be a positive brand ambassador regardless.
We encourage our employees to take pride in their content and share it with their networks. In order for them to take pride, they've got to know they worked hard for that content to be "publish ready." We have a pretty rigorous content approval process here, so by the time a post has gone through a managing partner and back to the community manager, they've very likely made more than a few edits. If you've passed that gauntlet, you bet your last beer they'll want to share that content with their networks.
Since most of our employees are friends or connected to people who are also active on social networks, this is a great way for us to earn additional views from folks we know are interested in the digital space or at a minimum, interested in remarkable content.
I'm bouncing back and forth on employees and their networks, but here is when I close the deal for employees. Once they're in the door, they've got to buy in to our culture and purpose. I think that's the biggest downfall of organizations with a ton of turnover or a lack of internal brand ambassadors - they don't have a strong culture and purpose, and as a result, they've got weak employee engagement.
It's a vicious cycle and one very tough to break out of if you're concerned about such things. Our culture is pretty simple: I put the employees first and I expect them to put the clients first. That is about as, "Don Crow proof" as I can write it. Sure, we've got relaxed dress code, flexible hours (just don't be late!), generous holiday observances, monthly birthday parties (amongst other parties) and more, but those things can be window dressing for the employee who isn't going to be happy anywhere or the one who wants a checklist of things to tick off every day.
Our purpose is equally simple: lead our clients out of the world of outbound (interruptive) marketing and into the world of inbound marketing. Once you start teaching employees the differences between the two and how remarkable content placed in the proper places converts strangers, they immediately see the value in something they've embraced all along. After all, they're part of the same audience every brand is trying to influence and as a result, they've turned off their attention to interruptive messaging.
I know I am delighting my employees and producing brand ambassadors when they own the top four spots for the hashtag, #WePromiseWereWorking on Instagram. It's their way of showing the world how much fun they're having, what they're doing, and in some cases who they're doing it for (where NDAs allow).
I also believe that by placing them on top of my pyramid and requiring them to place the clients at the top of their pyramid, we create a great relationship that makes it easy to see the road ahead. They know they've got to have the clients back and they know I've got theirs. Simple? Yes. But isn't the world complex enough already?
If you'd like to learn more about Inbound Marketing and how we employ it in everyday functions in and out of the office at Verge Pipe Media, please click on the button below and let's get the process started.