Posts Tagged ‘employee advocacy’

Employee Advocacy starts with Passion

August 23, 2016

You have your EA program completely wrong!

Let’s start clarifying with a definition: “Employee advocacy” is a term used to describe the exposure that employees generate for brands using their own online assets. While social media is often the main medium for employee advocacy, these “online assets” include email, chat, forums, discussion boards and more.” (Source: Linkhumans).

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Going through a  large number of post on how to start an Employee Advocacy Program, I found the following recurring elements.  Most include some kind of a mission; creating trust and freedom quickly followed by social media policy (of course);  a set of advocacy tools;  some kind of an incentive plan; company generated and focused content;  and finally possibly some training.

The focus of the program is on Reach and KPIs as measurement criteria.  Though this might make sense from a company’s point of view, it does not from the advocate’s point of view.

passion

What is really needed to get to advocacy going is “Passion”.  Few (or no) programs are addressing this.  Let me dig a little deeper on what I mean by passion.

Passion for the company

Passionate employee are those that pay attention to the company’s strategies and tactics.  They follow every step the company is taking to be successful. Sometimes they might question these steps. They see their role in that success.  They defend their company every time without being asked and not because someone in the company ordered them.  Most importantly, they are not motivated by money.

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for the culture

Companies must have a passionate work culture that translates into devotion, recognition and long-term employment.  Open communications, honesty are key components that must exist within the company.  A lot of the times, you team culture springs to mind.  And as the expression goes: there is no I in Team!  And yes, EA is about creating trust and freedom!

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for products and services

The next level is that your employees need to be passionate about their products and services.  They see how these products make a difference and what their contribution to that success is.  It makes them proud!

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for helping

Yet another key element for advocacy is that you give freely without expecting any immediate return or otherwise stated the giver does not specify what should be given in return but rather accepts that the recipient is free might decide to give something  at some point.  As a giver you are trying to add value to your network and community.

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for social

Employees also have to have a passion for social media.  And I do not mean obsessed with constant updates but more about that internal fire to share and contribute without asking the ‘return’ questions.  So if they have no or limited social media accounts they will not suddenly create them and start sharing information because you ask them (via a amplification platform using gamification techniques).

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Passion for personal branding

Finally, there must be a need/want of the employee to do personal branding and that using content that is either handed to them or they curated/created themselves.  The WIIIFM factor is and must be high and add value to the network of the individual.

i in team

And yes, there is an “I” in team when it comes to employee advocacy. Here is the magic formula:

                Employee Advocacy = Team + I

Without that passion there is no employee advocacy.

Remember that Passion and authenticity are hard to fake and people see through it easily.  Of course, this comes at a cost: the cost of failing and changing direction at some point. That’s okay because it lets you know it is time to move on and follow new passions.

passion 2

So when you set up an Employee Advocacy program release the passion first!

With that passion there is employee advocacy.

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Why organizations fail at Employee Advocacy?

July 26, 2016

low-hanging-fruitThe low hanging fruit for ambassadorship is Employee Advocacy and yet many (not to say most) companies are failing miserably at it.

 

Why and what to get it on the rails of for many one of the burning questions on the table.

4 golden rules for Employee Advocacy and Sharing

When it comes to Employee Advocacy there are 4 golden and simple rules:

  1. You employees follow your company accounts
  2. There is a culture of sharing
  3. The WIIIFM factor (for the employees) of posts is high
  4. Content is generated by the employees

Let’s take a look at the above rules and answer the question of why and what

Employees follow corporate accounts

social-media-newsroom-banner

This seems so obvious but it is not.  Sometimes because companies have not asked, sometimes because of ignorance and even sometime because employee choose not to.  Few companies take the time to promote their own social accounts internally even though externally thousands of dollars/euros are spent to get followers/fans.  Companies assume employees will find and follow the accounts anyway.  But how do you expect your employees  to look for them and even going one step further to share from there.

Why not run an internal campaign to promote social media accounts and content as  first step to true Employee Advocacy?

Sharing culture

HiRes_small

It must be said that some people and even nations share more than others.  Us Belgians are renounded for not sharing.  Sharing must be encouraged (via the social media policy) and done by example.  The management team and the social media lead by example for the rest of the organization to follow.  How do you expect employees to share what management and others do not share themselves.

Social media usage (also for private reasons during worktime) must be encouraged but forced upon your employees.

Oh by-the-way, the corporate account might want to share some of the content posted by its employees and this without being told to do so.

WIIIFM

what-is-in-it-for-me

People share if the content they share makes them look good of entertaining to their audience, friends, fans and followers.  As a company post creator you should keep that in mind and not the promotion of company products and/or services.  Most company post do not hold the potential for people to share and look good!

User-Generated Content

content-people-01Sharing is a 2-way process and successful posts have a high level of human factor embedded in them.  Showing off your employees (and no, they will not be stolen away from you) and their content will make sharing so much more attractive.  One step further is using content from your employees on your corporate account will dramatically increase even more the level of sharing.  See it as a pat on the back and recognition for having great content.

And then there are tools

Since Employee Advocacy is seen as the golden egg, companies are looking for ways to make it hatch faster.  Here come the tools to help (aka“force”) the sharing actions.  These tools even come with incentive programs (gamification) to make sharing even more attractive. But gamification will only work so long.  In my humble opinion no longer than 3 to 6 months.  And yes, internal promotion will be required.   Let me clear these tools have their role to play and are a good way to kick start social sharing of company posts but they are no longtime cure.  There are a lot of great tools out there to help you with social sharing and employee advocacy.

However, the real cure lies in adhering to the above 4 rules to make Employee Advocacy a success!

Feel free to agree of disagree with me and sharing this in the comment field below.

Employee Advocacy in 9 questions?

November 27, 2015

I recently organized an event together with “ADM – Where Business meets ICT” on the subject of Employee Advocacy.  It is a hot topic for many companies as the low hanging fruit for brand ambassadors has not been picked yet.

Here is what members of ADM taught us.  The full list of questions are below in the appendix

Q1: What words come to mind when you hear the word “Employee Advocacy”?

Here is what the audience thought….

EA - 11

We all know that Employee advocacy” is a term used to describe the exposure that employees generate for brands & company using both their own online and offline assets.

Q2 – Q4 pertained to current Employee Advocacy

About 2 out 3 companies that took part in the on line survey during the event had a program in shape or form for EA.  Most of the Advocacy seemed to happen on LinkedIn (45%) while Twitter and Facebook came in 2nd with about 23%.   In most companies between 15% and 25% of employees are being advocates.

Q5: What Employee Advocacy programs do you know?

One thing that is clear is that even though there are many platforms out there, people seem to know few of them.

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Q6 – Q8 pertained to who drives the EA initiative

Though marketing seems to be the biggest driver (46%), HR and communications are close seconds.  Even though we seem to hear that incentives are the key to successful EA, most of the companies in the survey disagreed.  Less than 30% offer incentives to their employees.

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Now with Employee Advocacy comes the danger of having things go wrong so having a clear up to date social media policy is key.  As my other research has shown about 50% of companies are not paying attention and have no or an outdated social media policy.

Q9: Who is responsible for the content that will be shared through Employee Advocacy?

The obvious answer seems to be marketing but stories from and by employees seem to be the trick to successful EA.

Conclusion

If your company want to start with an Employee advocacy plan a few steps need to taken:

  1. Make sure you have a culture of sharing and openness
  2. Update your social media policy
  3. Have your employee create content
  4. Implement an employee advocacy platform
  5. Encourage sharing through a smart incentive plan

What are your thoughts, feedback and experiences? Love to hear from you

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Appendix: questions asked to about 70 companies during the event

  1. What words come to mind when you hear the word “Employee Advocacy”?
  2. Does your company have an Employee Advocacy program?
  3. On what platforms is your advocacy happing?
  4. What % of your employees participate in advocacy?
  5. What EA platform are you using or know of?
  6. Which department drives EA?
  7. Are people incentivized for being an advocate?
  8. Do you have an updated social media policy?
  9. Who is responsible for creating content to be shared via EA?