There’s a fear held by many organizations that if you talk personal branding, employees will use that information to leave your company. Not necessarily true. Happy employees do not leave because they discover social media.
Plus employees no longer have to choose. Gone are the days where you’re either an employee or an entrepreneur. We now have a culture that supports being a mixture of both. I work in corporate marketing. I write fiction in the evenings. My fiction writing will never replace my day job; two different forms of stimulation. My marketing allows me to work in a team environment. My fiction gives me a creative outlet that I alone control. Do I want to be known as a writer – yes. Do I want to be known as a marketer – sure. Encourage these dual roles. There’s something in it for everyone. Plus:
1. Happy employees are more productive. A fulfilled employee is a happy employee. Don’t fight against their passionate off-hours pursuits, encourage them because…
2. Finding our passion makes us infinitely more interesting. You have an employee who’s a dedicated worker and has interests on the side. They’ve started attracting a new audience. Their audience becomes, in part, yours as they are associated with your “brain trust.”
3. The cool kids are doing it. How does something become cool or in-demand? Cool people go there or use the product. If your employees are seen as competent and interesting in their niche, you are by default as well. After all, they would not work for anyone who wasn’t.
4. People buy from people. Share the asset that is your people. Your employees (all of them, not just your sales staff) sell your product, service or membership organization every day. Give your organization a face. Give it lots of faces and you’ll see your audience grow as more people want to become a part of your group.
5. They’ll do it anyway. Your star employees will always be looking for new challenges, new ways to grow professionally. It is a natural progression to want to establish themselves as an expert in the field they represent. Wouldn’t you rather empower them and support their efforts knowing that when they achieve super star status so do you or hamper them in the fear they may go elsewhere?
If you have a private, online member community your ability to help them be seen is easy. Put them in place of a blog or growing the online community. Give them a forum to manage or a question and answer section. Help them blossom. Make them the go-to person on your next event or have them introduce the speaker. Use their skills and help show the world their brilliance. That is, after all, why you hired them in the first place.