Human Resources Today

Should you showcase employees on vacation to help promote your employer brand?

After my first experience with #exaqueoPTO was surreal (read more about our week away from work as a company, and why we do it here). The allure of having a week off work was something I was looking forward to, but experiencing it as a company - that is what set it apart from any other previous time away. I know, some might say we are a small virtual organization that can “get away” with doing it, but we definitely don’t brush it under the rug.  At exaqueo, PTO is something we take pride in - and prioritize - because flexibility and balance are an important part of our company culture.  For those of you wondering how vacation time can set the foundation for an enhanced employee experience, let me share a few things I’ve learned through our client work and experience.

WHAT WE DO OUTSIDE OF WORK, BRINGS INSIGHT INTO HOW WE WORK

So far in my time as a part of #teamexaqueo, one thing sticks out to me through the research that I have conducted: we bring our whole self to work. For instance, in client work, we learn what employees do outside of the office- including what they do and who they do it with - from community to family, to outside activities. This information helps organizations determine where they can develop their brand, connect with potential employees, and build on the source of influence that helps attract best-fit talent to the organization.

With that in mind, when I take time off work to spend time with family, hang out with friends, or go outdoors, I’m essentially walking in the shoes of my client’s potential employees. How we choose to spend time away from work can inform us of what types of employees make up an organization.  From there, we can find the best way to attract best-fit talent to an organization.

Employees are influenced by their environments both in and outside of work. Any vacation time that your employees take is a reflection of the environment that they are experiencing away from the office. We often hear that our personal and professional lives are to be separate. However, the world around us - from where we work to where we live to where we relax - helps define our purpose, motivators, and how we bring our best selves to the office.

Takeaway: Take note of what your employees do outside of work. Use that information to identify common interests among your team members.Assess whether or not your organization is providing the right affinity groups or tools to help connect them to one another.

ENCOURAGE SHARING. NOT JUST ON SOCIAL

I know you have heard it over and over: showcase your employees on social. I’m here to tell you, think before you act. Unless your organization is primed and ready to promote it. When employees take time away from work, they may or may not post on social about it. Some will share their experience with colleagues or bosses. But don’t assume they want you to publicize it and  showcase it on Instagram for everyone to see. It might be a good idea to start smaller and get employees to share what they are doing with each other. Old school? Yes. Invaluable? Absolutely.

Takeaway: Leverage internal social platforms, meetings, or affinity groups to create a buzz around how employees are spending their time away from the office. If you help start the conversation, you will begin to build a community of authentic sharing that boosts employee engagement, which in turn will showcase your employer brand. Think with authenticity, and meet your employees where they are in their sharing journey, whether it’s inside or outside of work.
 


Encourage employees to get away and use their vacation time. They will come back to work recharged, and with a renewed balance and perspective. We spend nearly 100,000 hours of our lives at work, so where we spend the rest of our time matters. Just tune into how employees are spending their time, and sharing their time. If you take the time to carefully listen and broadcast, you can build a powerful message into your employer brand strategy.

Share your thoughts below on how to showcase employees outside of work. What have you experienced or found to be successful?

If you liked this article, check out this one: Employees Are Human Beings and So Are You


Sarah Thacker (@sarah_m_thacker) is an Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo, an employer brand experience firm building employer brands and the talent strategies that drive them through research, consulting and creative and digital execution. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research and recruiting strategy offerings.

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