Employee Value Proposition Campaigns - 4
Since 2014, Hootsuite has been engaged in a highly-successful employee value proposition campaign. The focus of this campaign was the build company culture and to empower employees to promote that culture. It featured a number of initiatives, both internal and external, with an extensive social media campaign and a suite of internal tools to help employees be effective brand ambassadors. One note on methodology: because this campaign has been ongoing for several years, I've included some sources that are slightly older than the typical two-year time frame we try to stick to at Wonder, to give the most thorough case study possible. I've only included these sources when they were both highly-relevant and highly-credible. You'll find a deep dive of my research below.
Employee value proposition
Hootsuite's stated Employee Value Proposition is the following:
"At HOOTSUITE, we’re revolutionizing communications via social and transforming messages into meaningful relationships.
OUR TEAM is comprised of passionate, egoless peeps having fun building something bigger than themselves.
Each day, YOU will bring our core values to life through your actions and collaboration with our team, customers, and our community."
The company describes its culture as "a passionate, egoless team having fun building something bigger than itself." Hootsuite's stated values are as follows:
1. Lead with humility
2. Grit in all we do
3. Guild a better way
4. Passion for customer success
The evp journey
Hootsuite grew massively from a startup to a global corporation, and its employee count grew from 20 to 1,000 in just a few years. In response to this, the company began focusing heavily on building a strong employer brand and employee value proposition, particularly beginning in 2014 and 2015. Internally, the company began building its employer brand and the tools and resources to accompany it and make it successful, including the Hootsuite Manifesto and the Hootsuite Employer Brand Playbook. Moreover, Hootsuite focused on building a company culture and on empowering employees to be brand ambassadors, with a particular focus on user generated content. Externally, the company began actively promoting its employer brand on social media and through other external channels. Hootsuite partnered with Amplify Talent in a seven-month campaign to “design, champion, and evangelize progressive recruiting and employer branding strategies to enhance Hootsuite’s recruiting capabilities and reach." Hootsuite had several goals for its EVP journey: attract top talent; unify team messaging when communicating with prospects; transparency around the employee experience; use storytelling to show the company’s global diversity; and share their HR work openly using social.
Hootsuite’s approach to its internal employee value proposition was twofold: building a company culture and providing resources to promote that culture. The company’s approach to culture-building was bottom-up, with 70% of it being led by employees. For example, Hootsuite created a cultural manifesto, which it now distributes to all new employees, and which is publicly available online. The manifesto was crowdsourced from employees across the organization. There were some top-down initiatives, as well; for example, the company fosters wellness and work/life balance through in-office perks such as a gym and nap room, yoga classes, organic snacks, and even being a dog-friendly workplace.
Next, Hootsuite developed tools to give employees, as well as the talent team, the resources they need to be effective brand ambassadors, with a consistent tone and clear brand themes. This includes an employer branding asset library, which features social media assets such as tags, and “tailored assets to allow recruiters to more efficiently and effectively share targeted content with recruits and prospects.” Perhaps the most important of these tools is the company’s Employer Brand Playbook, a global guide for all company stakeholders “to share the why, what, and how we approach Employer Brand.” The playbook, which includes the company’s EVP, is intended not only for the talent and recruiting department, but also to empower employees as brand ambassadors. The core section of the playbook focuses on how to effectively communicate the employer brand, including “success measures/KPI’s, EB pillars, tone of voice, channels, communities, departmental branding assets, tools, and how to represent Hootsuite on LinkedIn and Twitter.”
As a social media company, Hootsuite’s approach to external employer branding was of course heavily focused on creating a strong presence for the brand on social. The company was the first to use Twitter’s Periscope live broadcasting tool for employer brand marketing, which I’ll discuss more in the next section. Hootsuite hosted a monthly recruiting chat on Twitter, #HootJobs, reviewed and redesigned candidate experience efforts such as communication templates, and developed visual branded assets for use on social media - you can see several examples from this campaign in this case study. Moreover, the company launched the hugely successful #HootsuiteLife employer brand hashtag, designed to give candidates and other external parties a glimpse into work life at Hootsuite. The hashtag has high levels of engagement, with multiple tags per day on both Twitter and Instagram, and a total of over 16,000 posts on Instagram using the hashtag. The company’s top performing Instagram post of 2017 was a #HootsuiteLife post featuring a photo of a dog in the Hootsuite office, which received over 1,000 likes and over 30 comments. The company even launched an accompanying #HootsuiteLife storytelling channel on SoundCloud.
With 12 different offices around the globe, it was core to Hootsuite's approach to its employer brand to incorporate an inclusive global perspective. The company's successful and original Periscope campaign was designed to highlight Hootsuite's global offices and culture; it featured one continuous live broadcast that took viewers inside the company's 12 global offices, spending one hour at each and traveling around the globe "following the sun" (#FollowtheSun). During the employee-led broadcast, a team member in each office "shared a narrative that gave insight into their world from the perspective of an employee." Hootsuite had over 5,000 viewers of the live broadcast. In addition to #FollowtheSun, the company took this global perspective when building its EVP and Employer Brand Handbook: "We worked closely with our global talent leads to understand how we’re positioned in each region; including stage, culture, local positioning, and local EVP. This allows all of our global talent colleagues to understand the value proposition in each region and helps us tailor our EB messaging."
Turning negative perceptions into positive
Hootsuite's #FollowtheSun broadcast certainly impacted how prospective candidates viewed the company, resulting in a 10% increase in job applications. The company's other external employer brand campaign initiatives also boosted the company's image among candidates; as a result of the initiatives I described above, the company saw a 50% increase in global applications per job, and 43% of applicants stated that their decision to apply was influenced by the company's social recruiting and employer brand campaign. Also, the company's employer brand Twitter account, @HootsuiteLife, saw a 61% increase in followers in just a few months.
Internally, the company's efforts to boost employee engagement with the brand paid off, as well. After the release of the Employer Brand Playbook, there was a 53% increase in engagement with the #HootsuiteLife hashtag in just a few months. In another initiative, the company realized, based on retention statistics, that the turnover among young employees was very high. Based on the hypothesis that the turnover was due to the fact that millennials like to be constantly challenged and to learn new things, the company implemented a learning program to give employees the opportunity to learn new skills.
To wrap up, Hootsuite's EVP campaign focused on building company culture and empowering employees to promote that culture. This included internal, external, and global initiatives to build the company's employer brand.