Employee Advocacy: The Next Big Move for Your Company?

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It’s something you’ve probably heard of before in a meeting or a conversation at work, or might have read about online, but maybe didn’t really pay much attention to it. However, the time has come to give employee advocacy the attention it deserves. As an important step in building your employer brand, having your employees be ambassadors for your company will probably be the best decision you’ll ever make.

Employee Advocacy 101

Employee advocacy is a very simple concept; it implies having your employees promote your organization/brand. Pretty straight forward, right? Having your employees work as brand ambassadors comes with great benefits for your organization. Besides, who better to talk about the company than a person who actually works there, knows the ropes, and lives and breathes the company’s culture?

A lot of a company’s branding is done with marketing strategies and advertisement; employee advocacy will not only help boost and sustain these strategies, but it will also bring great advantages to the organization: great referrals, more employee retention, improved reputation, increased engagement, and so much more.

Why does employee advocacy work so well? People are 16 times more likely to trust personal recommendations than an ad from the brand itself. Word of mouth has always been and will continue to be the top influence for clients/buyers to choose a service/product. This can also be applied to the recruitment industry. Imagine Google calls and offers you a job, would you say no? When a company works so hard on building their brand and image, especially through their own employees, potential candidates will never think twice when asked to join the team.

Employee Advocacy Step by Step

There are several ways to apply employee advocacy and the most common ones are: creating and following a formal advocacy program; building such a great company culture and giving your employees the best experience that promoting the organization comes natural to them; and giving out some old-school POP material. The best thing about employee advocacy is that all these strategies can be carried out at the same time, you just need to put them into practice and measure the results to really be able to know what the best one will be for your company in the long run:

Advocacy program: According to Altimeter and LinkedIn data, companies that have an active employee advocacy program are 58% more likely to attract top talent and 20% more likely to retain them. And these are just numbers for recruiting and retention; a successful program can do that and so much more. In fact, almost 64% of companies assure employee advocacy helped them attract new business. Ideally, an organization should be in charge of making their employees believe and trust the content the company generates for social media in order for them to become successful brand ambassadors. Creating and curating high-quality content, as well as encouraging your employees to share and debate in social media, will definitely lead to a successful employee advocacy program.

Let it flow: If your employees are satisfied with their jobs, there’s a good chance they’ll become advocates to your brand, even without you asking them, and you will certainly reap the rewards later. Every like, every share, every picture, mention, or recommendation counts. So, if it comes natural for your employees to post on social media or talk with friends and family about the company or your products/services, you’re definitely doing something right. Remember your employees are the best salespeople for the company because they actually know what they’re talking about.

Recognize others so they can recognize you: In order to keep your employees even more motivated and engaged, a recognition program can be put into practice. In a recent study from Harvard Business, 72% of businesses said recognizing high performers had had a significant impact on their employee engagement. Acknowledging an employee’s good work can be beneficial for both the company and the employee itself. Imagine being named employee of the month and getting a social media post created just for you; wouldn’t you want the world to know about it? It’s a win-win situation, employees get the recognition they desire and deserve and the organization is put out there, getting the expected reach.

Give the people what they want: Who doesn’t love free stuff? Every time I get a free pen, cooler, mousepad, or mug, I literally wear them out with all the use I give them. Giving your employees free POP material (and not only saving it for potential clients) is basically—almost—free advertisement. Every time they wear your t-shirt or use your pen, your employees will be showing off your brand without actually having to make any effort at all.

Trust us, once you’ve invested on a good employee advocacy program, you’ll never want to go back to your old ways. Keep in mind that just like all new strategies you implement, your employee advocacy program will need to be measured in order for you to assess its benefits and make the necessary adjustments to the program when required.

Vanessa Fardi
Digital Copy Editor