Employment Branding: Software, Training, Success

Yesterday’s Advisor featured tips from Heather Polivka for building your brand with employee ambassadors. Today we will discuss more of her tips, including software to help training and levels of employee involvement.

Polivka, senior director of Global Employer Branding & Marketing at United Health Group, offered her branding tips at the HR Technology Conference held recently in Las Vegas.

There are a lot of ways to pay to build your network and your advocacy program, she says. She mentions:

Sprinklr. An online content calendar and scheduler for posts, Sprinklr is “purpose-built to help large brands create, manage, and optimize valuable social experiences that customers will love.”

Sysomos. A social media monitoring tool, Sysomos offers a “social research engine that delivers deep, actionable insights into the people and conversations that matter most to your brand.”

Polivka also suggests checking out:

  • EveryoneSocial
  • Sprout Social
  • Sociable
  • QUEsocial
  • Dynamic Signal
  • Addvocate-Trapit

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Training a Must

Don’t let people represent the organization online without training, Polivka says. She has a 3-month training and certification program for content generation, and an additional 6 hours for content sharing.
As an example, Polivka had four software engineers take the training, who then got active online and tripled the number of followers. “We’re romancing,” she says. We say to the people when a req opens, make an informed choice.
It’s important to have company social media guidelines, Polivka says, who has developed an “Engagement and Escalation Map” that details how to deal with troublesome posts and how to know when to escalate to higher levels.
She also maintains analytics showing positive and negative comments on about 15 different online topics.

Our Social Talent Marketing and Engagement Strategy

To recruit our ideal candidates, our employer branding, reach, talent network, and trust-factor must be greater than that of other companies with the similar talent needs. Our social recruiting program gives us this competitive advantage, Polivka says.
We use our interactive platform, she says, for our employees, trained social recruiting ambassadors, and talent community managers to engage with candidates and people within their social network. Our presence has:

  • Shifted our online talent engagement process from broadcasting job descriptions and interacting with applicant tracking systems to a people-focused, personal, and rich candidate experience; and
  • Positively influenced our online employer reputation with consistent and valuable information sharing and engagement.

Levels of Involvement

Polivka offers the following table to show the different levels of effort that organizations might engage in.

High effort


  • Proactive
  • Candidates making informed decisions
  • Company is accurately represented online
  • High engagement

More effort

More effort to interact

  • Unprompted brand mentions
  • Content creation (YouTube video)
  • Responses to brand Facebook posts
  • Sentiment of engagement metrics


Minimal effort

Minimal effort to interact

  • Facebook likes on brand posts
  • Retweets of brand mentions on Twitter
  • Comments on YouTube video
  • Sentiment of participation metrics


Low Effort

Passive contact with brand mentions or messages

  • Brand Facebook page likes
  • Brand Twitter handle followers
  • Subscribers to YouTube channel


How We Engage

Polivka currently has 50 non-HR advocates with 25 more in queue completing their 6 hours of training. Her end-of-year target is to have 100 trained HR advocates.
The advocates are divided into various groups depending on audience and business objective:

  • By country (For geotargeting, Facebook is good, LinkedIn is OK, and Twitter is not so good, Polivka says.)
  • By function (technological and clinical function, for example).
  • By topic (diversity, military, or general United Health Group info)

Furthermore, an employee can be part of more than one group to receive content to share.

Change in Total Reach

Polivka offers an impressive chart of growth in total reach since her program began:

Six times a year, the HR Daily Advisor Research Team conducts detailed research into contemporary HR challenges to highlight best practices and common policies and procedures. For our latest report, we examined how employment branding is being used in the real world of HR.

How important is developing a distinct employment brand to your company? How difficult is it? What makes people want to work at a specific company? Our respondents shed some light on the state of contemporary employment branding. We polled 391 people across numerous industries and disparate parts of the country to find out. See the results of our national survey as well as demographic breakdowns for each question.

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  • Executive summary and highlights
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Thanks to the ever expanding field of social media and the general digitization of our lives, companies have never been so transparent. This is true whether they want to be or not, and even whether they realize it or not. As a result, there has never been such a focus on employment branding as there is today. With the information in this report, you will get insight into the many ways HR departments around the country make use of employment branding, perhaps even your competitors’ HR departments.

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