2024 content planning is upon us! As you set media budgets and priorities for the year ahead, it’s important to check in with greater employer branding trends. This way, your content strategy aligns with candidate expectations and keeps up with the competition.
You know we’ve got you covered!
Here at Stories Inc., we have the privilege of working with employer brand, talent acquisition, and communications teams to plan and execute their employee storytelling content strategies. This list was inspired by the most pressing and strategic culture content projects we are kicking off in the new year. And, what we’re hearing as major priorities from our audience of employer brand, communications and people leaders.
Let’s dive into it!
What did we learn? 2023 Employer Branding Trends in Review
As we look ahead to the new year, it’s helpful to remind ourselves of the employer branding trends of the past year. By doing so, we can better understand the current mindset of talent brand and communications leaders.
Here are a few content trends we saw dominating 2023:
- Return of in-person, on-site filming. 78% of Stories Inc. video projects in 2023 included on-site filming. With more companies settling back into in-person and hybrid work schedules, it was essential to create content that represents the realities of today’s workplace.
- Employee photo libraries are a must-have. 63% of Stories Inc. in-person production days in 2023 included employee photography. With many pre-pandemic photo libraries now 3+ years old, a current photo library was essential for brands looking to stay fresh.
- The company culture video is alive and well. The world of work has changed a lot in the past few years. To reflect this change, many organizations have prioritized updating their EVPs and company culture promises. In fact, 69% of 2023 video projects included EVP or universal culture theme videos.
- AI-powered content creation became mainstream. With the rise of AI-powered sites like ChatGPT, more employer brand and culture communications professionals began using AI to speed up and scale their content creation efforts.
Now, on to what this all means for employer branding trends and content creation in 2024.
Trend #1: Celebrating Frontline and Behind-the-scenes Workers
Some are calling 2023 the year of the labor strike. From Hollywood writers to auto workers, this year has brought a heightened focus on workers’ rights and the people behind the scenes and on the frontlines who keep their organizations running.
‘Meet the Makers’ and other frontline worker series have been growing in popularity as companies look for ways to recognize and celebrate the team members driving the success of their products and services. As attention shifts to focus on the morale and engagement of front-line and behind-the-scenes team members, this is a content trend we see continuing to grow through 2024.
We love this example from Davidson Hotels that amplifies the voice of one of their Food and Beverage team members, Norrone.
Trend #2: AI for Employer Brand Content Creation
It wouldn’t be a 2024 trends article without discussing artificial intelligence!
Let us lead with: creating compelling employee storytelling content will always be a human-driven endeavor. A facilitated, human conversation will always uncover the best stories. And, AI can’t replace the nuanced understanding people leaders have of their organization’s company culture and the talent strategy that drives content creation efforts.
Also true: AI-powered tools have streamlined many technical aspects of the content creation process. In 2024, we expect culture communicators to use AI to create more employee storytelling content, more efficiently.
Here are a few ways our team at Stories Inc. is already using AI to make post-production more efficient, that we expect to become commonplace across the industry:
- Interview transcription to speed up the time from the storyteller interview to editing.
- Color-correction that assists in matching the colors between different shots. This allows our team to more quickly enhance the visual quality of final videos.
- Enhancing audio to make it crisper and clearer.
- Auto-masking video subjects to allow for background removal
- Generative AI to remove and replace unwanted background objects — see an example of this in action in the video below!
Trend #3: Humanizing Leaders on Social Media, Using Influencer Strategies
One of the best performing content types out there is posts from leaders on LinkedIn. Leader posts overwhelmingly outperform posts from branded accounts: in the beta launch of LinkedIn’s thought leadership ads, companies saw a 70% higher CTR and 60% higher engagement rate with thought leader ads vs. single image ads from their corporate accounts.
Gaining popularity this past year, activating leaders on LinkedIn will become an essential marketing activity in 2024. And as more leaders commit to regular posting, they’ll need the help of communications and marketing to plan content, stand out from the noise and bolster results.
Let’s look at an example. Chris Savage, Co-founder & CEO at Wistia, posts everyday about entrepreneurship, company culture, and reflections from his nearly two decades building Wistia. Here’s an example of a post sharing his personal story paired with advice for entrepreneurs:
Like with all trends we find useful and impactful to a content marketing program, our own leaders are getting into regular posting as well.
Creating compelling stories around these topics takes time and skill, and knowing how to frame these posts using influencer and content marketing best practices is key to being successful. The leaders who can do this well — and the communications teams behind them — are winning for their brand.
Download our guide, Storytelling for Executive Communications: How to Humanize Leadership, for more tips and examples on this topic.
Trend #4: Activating Employees as Brand Ambassadors
In tandem with leaders adding their voice to social media, employee advocacy programs will continue to be on the rise in 2024. It’s no wonder why: Data shows that employees sharing their perspectives on social media is a win-win-win scenario for companies, ambassadors, and candidates.
- Employee advocacy is good for companies: Companies with a high number of employees sharing high-quality content and thought leadership are 58% more likely to attract talent.
- Employee advocacy is good for ambassadors: 86% of employees participating in an employee advocacy program said it positively impacted their careers.
- Employee advocacy is good for candidates: 76% of individuals say they’re more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people than content shared by brands.
As more companies tap their employees and company leaders to become brand ambassadors, the real winners will be companies with ambassadors sharing personalized, high-quality content that captures the attention of their networks.
With this goal in mind, employee advocacy leaders’ focus will evolve from simple content amplification efforts to include regular ambassador training sessions. These training sessions will achieve two important goals: educating and empowering advocates to share their own stories on social media; and serving as regular touchpoints to keep ambassadors engaged with the program.
Check out our on-demand employee brand ambassador training to start your 2024 employee advocacy strategy off right. And, watch our interview with Intel employee advocacy program leaders to learn how they built the program from the ground up.
Employer Brand Trend #5: Activate Employer Brand Globally
If 2023 was all about overhauling EVP and culture overview content, the natural continuation we expect to see in 2024 is activating that EVP around the world. Global companies know it’s critical to communicate how your culture is experienced by all team members, not just those in close proximity to your HQ. You can’t effectively refresh your EVP and general culture content without activating it with a global lens.
For global employer brand leaders, this content will fall into two categories: universal and local.
Universal culture content answers the question, “What do employees experience no matter where they work?” Understanding what’s consistent about your workplace culture around the world is incredibly powerful (and assuring) to candidates.
These topics often include mission, purpose, and benefits as well as culture themes such as flexibility, innovation, and DEI.
As you think about global content, 2024 will also bring the need for localized content personalized to specific regions. Beyond the universal experience, company culture can be drastically different per location and candidates often have different questions and expectations due to cultural nuances and unique office cultures. The more specific your employee stories, the more insight you give candidates and the faster you can move them through the candidate funnel.
Get inspired by the video below captured in the storyteller’s native language. In the video, Alejandra shares her experience as a woman in healthcare sales in Mexico and how she finds meaning in her work:
Trend #6: More Collaboration Between Employer Brand and Internal Communications
As many of these trends suggest, employer brand roles are increasingly responsible for engaging and retaining employees. In addition to metrics like brand awareness, impressions, and website traffic, employer brand leaders are being asked more and more to own—or at least weigh in on—internal communications and employee engagement.
This evolution makes sense. An organization’s employer brand should be a reflection of the company culture. Therefore, employer brand content should resonate with both candidates and current employees. From employee recognition programs to hot button topics like remote and hybrid work, company culture content has an impact on both current employees and potential candidates.
But, there are nuances in speaking to an audience you want to retain versus attract. This brings an added layer of complexity to creating employer brand content.
To bridge this gap, employer brand teams will need to collaborate more with internal communications to create impactful content. Rather than reinventing the wheel, employer brand teams should tap into internal communications’ understanding of channels and messaging that best engage current employees. And by pooling resources, employer brand and internal communications teams can collaborate on content projects that meet both of their objectives.
Some of our favorite employer brand/internal communications content collaborations include:
- Communicating core values
- Covering company events, like all-hands meetings or sales kickoffs
- Employee recognition spotlights
This partnership is long overdue in the employee engagement space and we anticipate EB becoming more involved in employee communications in 2024!
Employer Branding Trends: Bring it on, 2024!
From global employer brand activation to sharing leader stories to dabbling in AI, 2024 is sure to be an exciting year for employer brand content. Good luck as you make these employer branding trends a reality!
If you have any questions about how Stories Inc. can help you reach your goals in 2024, get in touch with our team!