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#LifeatSky: How Sky has driven recruitment through employee advocacy

[fa icon="calendar"] 17/07/18 15:12 / by Mark Henshall

Mark Henshall

Take a look at the #LifeatSky hashtag and you’ll see a very active feed with employees busily tweeting across a huge range of topics from volunteering at beach cleans and women sharing their experiences on the Engineer Training Programme to snapshots of workplace gardens, teams attending award dinners and updates from presenters and correspondents such as Kay Burley, Sarah Jane Mee and Beth Rigby.

What comes across is authentic enthusiasm from staff who have been empowered to share their experiences and tell their own stories in a natural way through an employee advocacy programme. #LifeatSky reflects Sky’s vision and values and, importantly, its trust in its colleagues to speak for themselves with passion and integrity.

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Image: Harpreet Nandha, Employer Brand and Employee Advocacy at Sky

Trust and finding a natural way to communicate and start conversations across communities is one of the key things that comes across when I speak with Harpreet Nandha, Employer Brand and Employee Advocacy at Sky.

Sky has transformed its recruitment process through adopting an integrated approach with employee advocacy - as well as enhancing its marketing reach and engagement - but Harpreet tells me it has been critical to do it in a genuine way.

Here’s the interview, where Harpreet shares her thinking on the #LifeatSky journey.

How did #LifeatSky start?

When I joined Sky 3 years ago, there was a big push to ramp up how we better tell the story of what makes us a great place to work. We didn’t know when we’d have the chance to update our employer brand, so social media and advocacy was really important. And what better way to tell a story than through the experiences of our people?

"We didn’t know when we’d have the chance to update our employer brand, so social media and advocacy was really important. And what better way to tell a story than through the experiences of our people?"

At the time, the team had used #WorkForSky, which I felt was too recruitment focused and awkward to use. I wouldn’t use it, so why would anyone else? So I asked: ‘Can we change it to #LifeatSky’? It was easy to see this hashtag having more longevity and become something everybody could use. That was the vision.

Our employees share already - why will an advocacy tech platform help?

Qubist Tip: The Qubist employee advocacy platform allows brands to scale, measure, optimise and report accurately and easily on ROI to key shareholders for sustainable results.

What was the strategy behind it initially?

Initially the objective was to generate awareness of our employer brand, so the plan was to engage our Recruitment team and help them to understand why they need to use it. If I’m completely honest, the uptake wasn’t great to begin with as using social media was seen as a nice to have rather than something that’ll help reduce time to fill roles.

As a result, I spent focused time working with individual Recruiters on hard to fill roles, continually sharing the benefits of using social and advocacy. It took about a year to get buy-in from the team, by reassuring them we were here to help and not take up their time, not create more work.

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Of course we all know the passive candidate market is so much bigger than the active candidate pool but at the time we didn’t have statistics on engagement through to hiring to back it up. So a priority was to build relationships and empower the recruitment team to see the value advocacy could have, so they could empower their hiring managers and even the wider team to see the same.

Successful campaigns such as the opening of our new Technology Hub at Leeds Dock, increasing awareness of opportunities in Finance and raising the profile of our Women in Leadership programme helped to show the value of advocacy and build case studies for future campaigns.

“The passive candidate market is so much bigger than the active candidate pool”

The biggest turning point was investing in metrics. A range of analytics allowed me to show: how many people #LifeatSky was influencing; how posts using the hashtag received 100% positive sentiment; and how advocacy and the social strategy led to more hires and applications than some of our job boards. As a result, I was able to convince key business stakeholders that our most engaged employees have the ability to shape external perception and increase brand warmth.

See 'Employee Advocacy Programmes: What data do we get to measure progress?'

Qubist Tip: The Qubist employee advocacy platform gives admins a number of important stats including: a clear and live dashboard of advocate social media activity; Impressions, engagements, clicks on links; top performing advocates; top performing content; and trends graph to show activity.

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As a result, the last year has been focused on building a wider strategic approach to advocacy based on three target audiences: leadership, hiring managers and internal fans of Sky. This year our stats have shown we had more than 1,000 unique advocates and total reach was over 14 million, thanks to events such as International Women’s Day or Pride, where we collaborated with multiple internals teams, but also advocates with a large social following such as Kay Burley and Sarah Jane Mee.

Ultimately this means we’re influencing over 14 million people to view Sky positively as an employer but also consumer brand.

“We had more than 1,000 unique advocates and total reach was over 14 million”

How did you go about communicating the programme to employees internally?

Once the Recruitment team were engaged, I designed a Recruitment toolkit to empower our recruiters to think like marketers. It was a self-service guide that 1) enabled the team to convince stakeholders of the power of social and advocacy, 2) explore the perception challenge for their business area, and then 3) Work with their hiring manager to decide which of the 10 employer brand solutions they wanted to use. These solutions were varied and ranged from using advocacy through to working with an agency on video content.

In addition to the toolkit, I wrote up advocacy guidelines for teams who were starting their advocacy journey. It wasn’t too complicated but gave examples of the posts we see on social. Overall the general rule was: if you wouldn’t say it at work, don’t put it on social.

“The general rule is: if you wouldn’t say it at work, don’t put it on social”

To make advocacy go further we send a thank you note to our top advocates and as a basic rule ensure our Social Specialists always engage through likes or RT’s with posts tagged #LifeatSky. I feel this gives us a genuine way to show we really appreciate their engagement.

Today top posts from our employees are posted onto our intranet pages and use of #LifeatSky is promoted during exciting events either led by our Internal Comms teams or Employee networks. A few recent examples have been AJ’s press conference at Sky Central, Pride and IWD.

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Qubist Tip: The Qubist app is a multi-language employee advocacy platform on Android and IOS as well as desktop, so employees can access localised and personalised content on a global scale.

Was there any fear about starting the programme from senior management?

Absolutely. And you’d expect that for a company of our size. The message has always been that you need to trust your people. By growing it organically, people understood what the purpose of the hashtag was, and this led to it being used in the correct way. Once management could see we had 100% positive sentiment, this helped to reduce their fears and see how brilliant stories were being surfaced as a result.

“The message is always that you need to trust your people”

In addition to this, all employees sign social media guidelines when they join Sky of what to do and not do at work, but many had forgotten; that’s why the social media guidelines created for those starting their advocacy journey were a good reminder.

Download Qubist's free white papers on employee advocacy

Qubist Tip: As part of Qubist’s partnership with brands, we run optimisation meetings to help brands scale up activity and drive sustainable results.

What's next for #LifeatSky

Knowing that #LifeatSky can help us achieve 100 hires and 10,000 applications, it’s vital we continue to harness the power of our people, so will aim to increase the activity we’ve been doing to date through our Social media team and key stakeholders.

For example, we launched Instagram this year (@_LifeatSky) and would like to do more with takeovers on Insta Stories to bring our people stories to life. We’ll also continue to implement the advocacy strategy across our three groups by 1) working with our leadership teams and hiring managers to become socially savvy 2) building advocacy with strategic teams across Sky.

Follow Harpreet Nandha on Twitter or on LinkedIn and find out more about what Sky is doing on Twitter.

The Qubist employee advocacy platform and proprietary Advocate Experience Management methodology allows global brands and businesses to quickly scale measurable word-of-mouth and achieve sustainable results.

Learn more about Qubist: Request a demo today

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Topics: advocate marketing, employee advocacy, employee advocacy programme, employee advocacy platform, employee advocacy tool, employees sharing, social media sharing, Sky, recruitment, Talent acquisition

Mark Henshall

Written by Mark Henshall

Mark is our Head of Content. An award-winning content strategist, travel writer and editor with more than 15 years’ experience in travel. I have a very rounded and integrated approach that combines my expertise in editorial and content (confident handling large and complex ventures) with my experience in online PR, SEO, social, conversion, UX and PPC for headline clients.

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