Over the last 4-5 years we’ve been researching organisations that have launched employee advocacy programs, mainly trying to find out their motivations. It turns out that there are many different reasons, however it is fair to say that most are initially attracted by the Marketing benefits.
A few listed below:
- Increase brand awareness.
- Leverage the employer brand to attract and retain talent.
- Generate more sales leads.
- Humanise their brand.
We’ve also learn’t that advocacy, launched on top of a poor culture is like a house of cards…and with such high levels of disengagement in the workplace, quite frankly we have more important problems to solve right now than helping organisations leverage their brand on social media.
We passionately believe that real employee advocacy comes from within and that employees should not be coerced into advocating the brand.
Building a positive brand is about reputation, and it can’t be built or strengthened superficially. Real employee advocacy is about empowering your employees to build the brand from the inside out. Click To TweetIf organisations focus more on leveraging positive employee stories internally they are more likely to drive a culture of advocacy externally. Click To Tweet
It is about authenticity, shared responsibility and breaking down department silos so that the organisation speaks with one unified voice, and one clearly defined brand. Our feeling is that if employees are going to advocate the company brand, they need to feel like they are shaping the culture that it derives from. Not something achieved by sharing 2nd hand marketing content. It is therefore our conclusion that organisations should focus more on employee generated content rather than curated content, helping employees capture authentic moments in the workplace, and with it physical manifestations of culture and behaviour. Content that can be re-shared back internally with colleagues, underpinning all that is good about the organisation. This is an important point, the majority of organisations think of advocacy only as an external strategy, forgetting that..
To achieve maximum internal advocacy organisations need to ask themselves some important questions.
1/ Do our employees truly live our values? If so how? 2/ Are all our values still relevant in a rapidly changing workplace? 3/ How can we use advocacy to improve employee engagement? 4/ How can we help our employees to shape our workplace culture? 5/ How can we give employees recognition for demonstrating behaviours that reinforce the company values? 6/ How can we drive value based behaviours amongst peers and new joiners? 7/ How can we encourage internal sharing 8/ How can we remove the fear of creating content?
Whatever your reasons for launching an advocacy program, make sure you consider every aspect, not just sharing curated content to social media in order to convert more sales. People are talking about advocacy almost everywhere I go, Recruitment, Marketing, HR and comms events, however I am still hearing too much debate around controlling employees and whether to trust them to do the “right” thing. Lets move away from this simplistic view of advocacy and embrace something much more powerful, and lets be honest much more important, internal advocacy for driving a better future of work for everyone. .
If you want to take a look at Visibly – Request a Demo