By Matthieu Silbermann, Chief Product Officer at Powell Software, a comprehensive Digital Workplace platform that covers the spectrum of business communication and the employee experience, as well as employee engagement, collaboration and productivity.
The concept of Employee Advocacy has been around for some time. Simply put, Employee Advocacy is ‘the action of employees advocating for your brand’.
The rise of the internet and social media has given Employee Advocacy new and limitless possibilities for brands looking to harness and activate their employees as marketing, sales or recruiting assets in the digital workplace, yet is often under-utilised.
Through Employee Advocacy programmes, brands have an opportunity to leverage the unique perspectives of the people closest to their business to showcase their culture, products, and services and now, can reward them for doing so.
Taking a holistic overview; marketing wants to boost brand awareness, HR needs to increase employee engagement and recruit new members, and sales need more qualified leads. How can that be activated? It starts by looking within, expanding all stakeholders in the business to include employees. Employee Advocacy is the secret tool to help every department achieve its goals. Your people are your power; the micro influencers and the secret to improved organic reach for your business. Yet too few companies actively invest in the right strategies to boost engagement.
Employee engagement, the cornerstone of organisational success
Highly engaged employees bring invaluable benefits to an organisation, but they are a rare find. Creating engaged and motivated employees requires a dedicated effort from everyone, especially those at the top. Engagement can be defined as ‘’the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.”
With the majority of the UK workforce set to work in a hybrid way for the long term, it’s never more important to ensure the provision of an engaged and positive employee experience. Employee engagement impacts nearly every area of a company’s operations, from profits to productivity, and can be used as a benchmark to help measure employee happiness and manager effectiveness, so is business critical.
Low levels of engagement correspond with low morale and a general lack of enthusiasm. A worrying 87% of employees are not engaged at work. But building an employee advocacy program in the digital workplace means turning your employees into ambassadors for the business- to be part of something bigger beyond their everyday job, which can rebuild motivation once more.
Newly available digital tools and software can monitor and evaluate feedback to help determine employee engagement and wellbeing strategies to take the business forward. Happy employees mean happy customers.
Empowered, united and rewarded employees
Social media is the place where your company ambassadors can have a huge influence and contribution to the company success and development. 98% of employees are already using social media, so they can swiftly help to deliver key brand messages, engage in discussions, and relay content and events at the touch of a button increasing reach organically. They are also the secret to circumventing the new social algorithms in place which make it harder to amplify company content.
Subject matter experts
By giving everyone a voice to contribute to the company’s development through effective Employee Advocacy programmes, ambassador communities are created to unite employees, inspire engagement, and build a more cohesive culture. By giving employees the option and freedom to curate their own user generated content and collaborate on company collateral, can make them feel empowered and part of the company culture.
Employee advocacy is an “advertising value equivalent” for the marketing team that contributes to making a company an influencer on social media. Sales also benefit, over 70% of sales teams that use social selling outperform their peers or exceed quotas.
And for HR – employees can help advertise external positions that can then be shared on their social channels, which is invaluable endorsement to the company credibility. Research shows that more people trust a regular employee (54%) than a CEO (47%) and Nielsen reports that that 84% trust recommendations from people they know more than direct ads.
Establishing a strong employee advocacy culture requires strong and efficient relationships between the marketing and communications teams, and other departments. Technology plays a key role, providing teams with specific Employee Advocacy tools designed for the digital workplace that give quick access to information, an easy search system, an inclusive and engaging interface, and smart sharing features.
By implementing the right processes and practices in Employee Advocacy programmes that engage, empower and reward employees, brands can achieve real business impact, from increased market share and visibility to outstanding social success.