There's no better time to be a creator than now. ๐ŸŽ‡

If you want to be a creator, great! Workplaces today are urging their employees to become creators, and if you don't want to be a creator, well, that's tricky.

In today's Morning Rush, let's discuss how workplaces want you to be an influencer. But first, tell me: has your workplace urged you be one?

The first time we heard about an employee influencer is when a professional connection told us he hired a head of a department because he's a LinkedIn Top Voice and would help boost their brand image. I mean, if you're a LinkedIn Top Voice, you get to influence decision makers and professionals. Sample this: LinkedIn states 61 million senior-level influencers, 65 million decision-makers, and another 6 million decision-makers from the IT sector.

Earlier this year, Investor's Business Daily reported **leaders who take a page from influencers spark curiosity to reap the best solutions. The same piece carries executive coach Chuck Wachendorfer's opinion: "Leadership is about influence, and in today's world, we are all leaders and followers regardless of our titles. We are both influencing and being influenced all the time."

Should You Endorse Your Employer?

Well, that's your employer's intent albeit not a bad one. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

In 2020, Alex Lieberman, co-founder of Morning Brew, tweeted about turning employees into creators. His tweet said, "Every employee at Morning Brew should be a "digital personality" (if they choose)."

Read the entire post. ๐Ÿ‘‡

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read: The anatomy of an employee influencer

The Rise of Employee Influencers

Heard of employee influencers? ๐Ÿค”

No, we're not referring to CEO or founder influencers. In fact, this is how Everyone Social defines an employee influencer. ๐Ÿ‘‡

In short, an employee influencer can drive either visibility or sales for your brand. As per Edelmanโ€™s Trust Barometer (2019), 53% of all global consumers see employees as the most credible sources for learning about companies.

We asked Akhil Bhiwal, CEO of Phyllo, if he thinks employees are under pressure to become influencers despite their discomfort. He says, "It's a choice. Not everyone can be influencers. The idea is to help people unleash full potential. Earlier, those who were good at influencing weren't provided the platform, and lacked an opportunity. But it shouldn't be forced, because not everyone wants to be an influencer. A good workplace should be inclusive for diverse personalities."

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read: Implementing influencers in your employer branding

GRWM (Get Ready With Me) videos are all the rage now; but if you're someone who has been consuming vlogs on YouTube ever since..ever โ€” you would've stumbled upon videos like 'A day in my life at Google or Apple'. Who doesn't love these personal videos? ๐Ÿค“

Employees make these vlogs to offer details about workplaces we weren't privy to earlier. From facilities to office architecture to team performances and sampling meetings, product managers to engineers unabashedly make content around their work. It's no longer a marketer's job with more employees advocating their work culture, products, and of course, perks.

Remember the days you'd tell all your friends about your workplace? Today, you broadcast them to larger audience, thanks to the tools available today. โœจ

Aannya Bubna, Founder's Office at Phyllo, says, "Influencing is just a different word for what we used to call social referencing or word of mouth in earlier days. It was always there, and it helps give another lens to to a pre-existing belief. Some people are naturally good at it. Earlier, it was more natural, and now the companies are following a trend that's more validation heavy from the outside world (because social media makes everyone more vulnerable about existence, survival of the fittest, FOMO etc). Companies would soon bring the focus back to what actually works rather than just projecting by influencing."

She further adds. ๐Ÿ‘‡

Employee Influencer Training Programs?? ๐Ÿคฏ

Great thing if you want to be an influencer! You've got the tools, resources, accessibility, and your employer's support. What more can you ask for!

Workplaces are bringing in influencers and agencies to teach employees more about content creation and social media, providing them with resources and equipment.

Financial Express reports, "Firms have actively created a programme to train their employees to become influencers and grow their online follower base. These include Walmart, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Dell, Peloton, and Zappos, to name a few."

๐Ÿ‘‰ Check out: Best Influencer Marketing Courses by Influencer Marketing Hub

Brands such as Starbucks, Peleton, Cult Fit foster an environment for their employees to be influential. For instance, Cult Fit's trainers (both online and offline) do talk about their online communities or Instagram accounts, which talk about fitness and mental wellbeing.

Is There a Downside?

Always! Influencing is a double-edged sword. ๐Ÿ˜”

If an employee influencer's content is in poor taste, it'll reflect poorly on your brand or company. When you're building a personal brand, it's one thing. But when your employer is involved, it's tricky, isn't it?

๐Ÿ‘‰ Also read: Is cancel culture a threat to creators?

Brands and companies get cancelled or rank low on negativity everytime their employee influencer gets cancelled. Apart from cancel culture, when employee influencers whitewash a brand, things get worse. Trust Barometer Report states 56% of consumers can spot โ€œtrustwashing,โ€ or companies' less-than-truthful behavior in public. Influencers can bounce back, but it takes time for brands quite longer. Plus, it affects sales!

The rise and perils of employee influencers and founder brands
Corporate India and the professionals from the advertising industry are expressing their opinions like never before. However, there are attendant perils.

And then there's hiring influencers for roles only based on their social media following, but then it's a conversation for another day.

This is where Aannya adds, "Leaders and companies who have seen the best of both worlds (pre and post pandemic) would realise the ultimate score card of the organisation meets an A+ only when each function does their core job well. Mediocrity hidden behind social fame will die down as it will show up in the medium and long-term report card of the company. They will soon realise that core skill is non-negotiable and probably find other channels to align themselves with the newer trends.โ€

Companies with bigger budgets can afford hiring and fostering influencers for brand building, which gives them an edge over smaller businesses. Sounds unfair, right?

How do you feel about this? Hit reply and let us know.

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