How to Turn Your Employees into Brand Advocates
Are you looking for new ways to fill your vacant seafarer jobs? Maybe you’re just not attracting the caliber of candidates that you really want. Perhaps you’re fed up of reading seafarer resume after seafarer resume in which the applicant doesn’t have the right experience.
Seaman recruitment can be hit or miss. One minute you’ve got your pick of the crop of Oilers, the next it would appear that there isn’t a single Junior Electrician left on the face of the planet! Some seafarer ranks just seem to be harder than others to fill, so for those you might need to go the extra mile and put a little more effort in.
“But I’m doing everything I possibly can to fill my vacancies!” we hear you cry.
Okay, well how about getting someone else to do the heavy lifting for you? Of course at Martide, that’s what we do and if you’d like some help advertising your vacancies and would benefit from a talent pool of qualified seafarers, then let’s talk!
But we’re going to let you into a secret: there’s someone else you can ask to help you fill your shipping jobs: the very people that work for you.
How to turn your employees into brand advocates
We say seafarers, but actually anyone that works for your shipping company can be a great brand advocate. From the people in your recruitment team to the guy in accounts, and from the Oiler you’ve just lined up for a second contract to a Chief Engineer you’ve been working with for years.
We’ve talked before about how to encourage employees and contractors to refer friends and acquaintances they think would be a good fit for your empty jobs. And encouraging them to become advocates for your shipping company ties in with this.
Put simply, anyone you hire has the potential to become a great source of new recruits for your organization.
But will a handful of employees or contractors talking about your company and mentioning in passing that you have some vacant shore based or seafarer jobs really going to have much effect?
Probably not. And that’s where the power of social media comes in.
Your employees need a platform to shout from
Now we completely understand if your immediate reaction to us suggesting you ask your employees and contractors to start advertising on social media for you is a huge red flag, but hear us out!
For a start, what if we told you that your employees’ social media posts are likely to be way more effective than your official business or company page? How much is ‘way more’? It’s about eight times more.
That's right. An advert for your seafarer jobs that's posted on a personal social media account by one of your people is eight times more likely to generate engagement than if you posted it on your official account.
Secondly, if you’re one of the 2.45 billion Facebook users in the world, think about how many friends you have on the platform. The average is 338, for the record. Now think about all of the employees and contractors you have who you’d be comfortable with posting on Facebook on your shipping company’s behalf.
And now think about how many potential candidates are going to see those posts.
Of course, not every person on your contractor’s friends list will be suitable for, or even interested in, your vacant seafarer jobs. But chances are a percentage of them will be.
It stands to reason: your seafarer is going to have connected with other seafarers on Facebook. And those other seafarers may be looking for contracts.
And those seafarers may tell other seafarers...the network of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ will have the ultimate ripple effect.
And that’s just Facebook. Think of the potential network of seamen and other people who are interested in working in the maritime industry that you could reach through your employee/contractors’ LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Telegram, and WeChat accounts...to name just a few.
Build a talent pipeline
Even if your contractor’s seafarer buddies aren’t currently looking for a position, it’s in no way a wasted opportunity - your brand is now out there and they’ve been told that you’re a great company to work for.
Plus you can build a talent pipeline using any ‘passive recruits’ - i.e. seafarers who aren’t actively looking for a new job but who will be lining up a contract in the near future.
And once you’ve built a solid talent pipeline, you’ll have backup options for vacancies for those tricky seafarer ranks that are notoriously hard to recruit for!
But of course it’s not quite that simple. You can’t force your employees and contractors to spend their spare time recruiting for you. But you can make it so that they actively want to. And that will lead to far better results.
Make your company culture great
It stands to reason that no one in their right mind is going to refer their friends and former crewmates for a position if they can’t stand the place they work at or the company they work for.
That means you need to ensure that you’re doing all you can to show your employees you respect and value them and the contribution they make to your business.
Implementing an employee referral program is just one way of engaging your employees and contractors. Of course they’ll enjoy being rewarded or incentivized for the successful candidates they introduce to you, but it will also show them that you’re listening to them and trust their recommendations and opinions.
Maintain control over your brand
If you are going to ask employees to advocate for you on social media, it’s crucial that you maintain some sort of control over what they’re actually saying.
The best way to do this is to either write a set of standard posts or templates yourself, or ask your marketing department to do it for you, if you have one.
That way you can be sure your message is consistent and effective, information isn’t forgotten or incorrect, and your brand image isn’t tarnished by poor spelling or the overuse of emojis. Unless the overuse of emojis is your thing! ;)
Create a multi-faceted recruitment strategy
If you’re to be in with a chance of beating your competitors hands down (or indeed, to keep on beating your competitors hands down...) you’re going to need a multi-faceted recruitment strategy.
It’s not enough to sit around and hope the odd seafarer resume lands in your inbox every now and again. You need to proactively take the reins of your seaman recruitment drive.
Encouraging your employees and contractors is one part of that strategy but to really ensure you’ve got qualified crew to fill every one of your empty positions, you need to attack it on all fronts.
That’s why working with a dedicated seaman recruitment agency such as Martide is a great addition to that strategy. As well as our own candidate database / talent pipeline of qualified seafarers, we also work with a large number of international manning agents.
That means you have the pick of licensed seafarers from all over the world when it comes to filling vacancies and finding crew for those hard-to-recruit for seafarer ranks.
Talk to us today. We’d love to schedule a no-strings-attached demo of our platform with you. And if your shipping company chooses to work with us, we’ll give you our word that we’ll be your number one advocate!
Eve is Martide's content writer and publishes regular posts on everything from our maritime recruitment and crew planning software to life at sea.