Posts Tagged ‘policy’

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).

ea

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.

Will Live-streaming throw our privacy completely overboard?

April 2, 2015

The world of social media is changing at a quick pace and some innovations make it even shake in its foundations.  It has been touted that 2015 was going to be the year of the video.  But what is happening now is just mind boggling.  Personally, I love it! Live-streaming has just gone personal!  Meerkat and Periscope are among the shakers in this field.

meerkat

What is meerkat or Periscope?

Live-streaming is nothing new but personal live-streaming surely is.  Meerkat and Periscope are personal live-streaming video apps using a twitter account to rally viewers and share live video content.  We are even more at the point of being a reporter with camera in hand (our smartphone) than with pictures.  And yes, today the service is only available for Iphone users.  Below is an infographic comparing the 2 main players.

infographic meerkat

Meerkat was the first to jump the gun and soon had many followers (over 100K in less than a month).  But then came along Periscope (by Twitter) and the steep rise stopped in favor of Periscope.  Who will be the winner?  I guess the app that gets soonest on Android/Microsoft, I think!

The potential of live video streaming is huge.  Creative marketers will be able to feast on new things they can do starting with streaming product launches, product demonstration, events, interviews, promotions and much more.

However, the biggest issue still has to be tackled.  Privacy is hitting yet another tilting point.

What privacy?

Privacy and the internet are an oxymoron and contradiction anyway.  But these apps hold the potential for many more breaches.  It could be a nightmare in the waiting.  Looking at the terms of use of both platforms (MeerkatPeriscope) they are dodging all responsibility and beyond.

Here is an interesting paragraph from Meerkat

All Content, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, is the sole responsibility of the person who originated such Content. We may, but are not required to monitor or control the Content posted via the Services and we cannot take responsibility for such Content. Any use or reliance on any Content or materials posted via the Services or obtained by you through the Services is at your own risk.”

But beware and please read carefully the section after the word “reproduce”:

You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. In order to make the Services available to you and other users, Meerkat needs a license from you. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”

The service claims not to store the video but are you really sure?  I would suggest you read these Terms of Service agreements carefully.

But again, you will ask me “Where is the privacy issue?”

stopWell, what if people start streaming live video from a paying event? Of from a soccer game where a TV station has paid the screening rights?  What if you are filmed and have not given your consent?  What if people start streaming video from places where disasters have happened?  These are all situations that will raise the bar in the privacy game.  And yes, the first events where Meerkat was banned are a fact.  But how can you stop this?  You can’t ask people to check in their smartphone when they come to your event.  Interesting times ahead!

Finally a last thought. If this service would have been offered by Facebook, the world would have been up in arms around the privacy issues but for now people focus on meerkat-in-carthe gadget level of these apps as if there is no issue.  We hear a lot of speak about using your common sense or like Meerkat puts in its rules “Be Kind”.  We all know where that road leads to.

Let me be clear that I am very excited to see these evolutions and technology appear. I will be a supporter from day 1 but will keep a close eye on the dark side of this technology.  I wonder what you think about this technology and the privacy issues that it entails.

Social Media Policies in Belgium (Part 1) – Only 1 in 5 company has one!

December 8, 2012

Social Media Policies have found their entrance into large corporation but the small and especially the medium sized companies have not created and implemented  such social media policies.

Earlier this year PayScale released some results about the adoption of Social Media Policies in the USA (http://mashable.com/2012/06/10/employer-social-media/).  The conclusion was that over 50% of the companies had a formal social media policy.  But how do Belgian businesses match up to these numbers?

A recent survey (October 2012) done via Vanguard Leadership has revealed that only 1 company in 5 has a social media policy in Belgium.  And since Belgium is a country of Small and Medium sized business, we can conclude that the 20% of companies that have a social media policy are mainly  the larger companies.

SoMe IN BE

The same survey uncovered that  65% of the employees accessed Facebook, 52% LinkedIn and 53% Twitter daily during work hours.  You would think that social media policies would be more common since employers are worried about their employees wasting time or damaging the reputation of their company on social media.

SoME in BE 2

A first conclusion is that companies are not always aware that their employees are very active on social media.  Though these companies are aware that such a policy is a must they do not create or implement a policy or guidelines until they have an “accident” which leads to reputation loss.  Over the course of the year we have witnessed several of these examples (e.g. Ikea in Belgium – http://www.nieuwsblad.be/article/detail.aspx?articleid=GVB3M9AGE) where a social media policy is created after the reputation damage was detected.

More information to come about the results of this survey in next blog posts.

Notes about the survey:  Over 200 companies were surveyed.  About 50% have less than 50 employees, 30% have less than 250 employees and  and 20% were larger than 500 employees.

Who controls the social media policy creation?

May 29, 2012

We all know that control and social media are contradictory, but that is what people and companies think you achieve through a social media policy.

Where in the past social media was the exclusive playing field of marketing, today HR, sales and other departments are finding great benefits in social media.  These departments are discovering new platforms or uses for existing platforms to benefit their departments.  So with this expanding usage of social media, comes the awareness that a social media policy is needed.

Today I am seeing a new battle arise, namely who will create the social media policy.  A number of departments are trying to pull that creation of such a much needed policy to them.  However, there are 3 clear main drivers: HR, marketing and IT. They do this for different reasons.

But first, the creation of a social media policy is project that is done in a number of different ways today.   Some resort to an automated tool to create a policy.  It goes without saying that this can’t be the full answer.  Others will surf the internet for a policy and do a copy/paste, this is a better approach but the reality is that your social media policy is not the same as the one from any other company and thus requires a personal approach.

In order to reflect all requirements and wishes within the company, a number of departments must be included in the creation of such a policy.  Each department will bring their unique experience, skills and motivation for the policy to the table.  No department alone should be dominating this effort.  Here is some experience from real life why.

Marketing wants to control all messaging by being in charge while having free reign.  They will try to create either a minimalistic policy (“use your common sense” as only rule) or control the usage by a detailed “how to use social media handbook”.

HR wants to limit the risk, liability and time usage.  Though they do bring the skill of creating successful policies to the table, their angle will be focused on “do not …” rather than “do…” or “become…”.

IT will be concerned about bandwidth and IT security and their driver will be shut down as much as possible in terms of access to social media.

Legal will for liability reasons be trying to cross all the t’s and dot all the I’s in terms. Most of the time this achieved through complex wording that no one understands (cfr. Terms of services of most social media platforms).

Employee will either want as much as possible access to social media with nearly no rules or guidelines while others will want nothing to do with it.  The contributors will be giving the social media policy makers the real insight to the use of social media in the company and they should be considered valued contributors.

Unions are a much dreaded group of contributors.  Companies are afraid to involve them in the process.  However, since policies must also be reviewed, approved or endorsed by these unions, who by the way also use social media, they are critical to implementing social media policies successfully.

In my personal experience, creating a 2 page or 20 page social media policy (guideline or handbook), you need to have all these people and departments involved in the project to create a personalized and integrated social media policy for your company.  To make the roll-out process a success you need to accompany this project with social media awareness sessions and/or training.

Do you have different views? I love to hear from you!

Trade Unions and Social Media Policies: an explosive mixture

February 20, 2011

I am looking with a lot of interest at the actions of trade unions when it comes to social media policies in companies.  Over the last months several court cases, which I do not care to mention (just Google “social media policy union”), have made the news and have spread via different media across the world.  It is true that currently most of the controversy is coming out of the US but I am sure in time we will have similar discussions in Europe.

There are 2 points that intrigue me:

  • Trade Unions about Social Media policies
  • Social Media policy in Trade Unions

I know that I am touching on very sensitive points.  So I think we need to face this topic before more discussions end up as social media cases.

Trade Unions about Social Media Policies

As more and more companies are seriously beginning to look at creating and implementing a Social Media Policy to control their employees, it raises more attention with the trade unions.  We all know that controlling social media is impossible!  So what am I seeing?

  • Some companies have realized that rather than creating a strict policy it is better (for company ambassadorship) to provide guidelines to the employees.
  • More and more companies are involving different functions and departments during the creation phase of a policy. We see HR, marketing and IT collaborate on such policies.

My recommendation, however, is that you make the trade unions part of your project team to create the company social media policy.  Daring?  Impossible?  Not!  Speaking from experience, it can be done!

Social Media Policies in Trade Unions

Source: Alexwhite.org

Trade Union members are active on social media, let’s not deny this.  While most are there from a personal point of view, some are their as a trade union member.  This brings me to wonder if trade unions have their own social media policy or even social media guidelines since they are a brand too. What guidelines or policies are in place for trade union members to react via social media?  Just imaging how much damage the trade union brand and reputation could suffer from not having these guidelines. So far, I have not found one trade union that has published a policy but it would be interesting to see what their guidelines/policy looks like.

My recommendation is that Trade Unions should create, implement, communicate and publish their social media policy so their members do not hang out the trade union’s dirty laundry.

Conclusion

My business mantra is that you can complain about a problem but you need to come up with at least one solution.  So if trade unions are going to fight social media policies, they need to have one themselves and companies must include the trade unions in their social media project creation and delivery teams.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Social Media Policy unites Social Media initiatives

January 30, 2011

As social media is being used by different departments in larger companies, we tend to see that all the efforts are undertaken in somewhat isolation of each other. Call it social media chaos. Marketing uses it for brand awareness; HR for recruitment; Sales for lead generation; etc. All might be using different media, different approaches, and different rules. Sounds familiar?

The ultimate solution, of course, is that companies hire a social media manager. Hopefully, this person can sit at a corporate level as to not be driven by one type of function but we all know better, right! However, we all know that few companies are willing to invest in an FTE for social media because of cost, lack of strategy and no real view on time and effort needed. So why not use the social media policy to unify the different social media initiatives within the company.

How? One of the key building blocks in the acceptance of a social media policy is that is created by multiple departments otherwise you end up with a unilateral policy. Marketing will make it as minimalistic as possible as to not have any limitations, HR will make it restrictive in line with the other policies, IT will close down as much as possible, legal will have it so unreadable, etc.

Putting together a team to create your social media policy is more than a good idea. The first step in the creation of a social media policy is to raise the awareness of the topic to the same level for all the participants. So in this step of the every department makes an inventory of what it is using, why and how. By presenting this to the team, it will not only create a better understanding of what social media means to everyone, but also where the company is active (you will be surprised to see the results). It will also reveal possible synergies. Why evaluate and set up 2 different monitoring systems (one for marketing and one for customer service, and yes, it happens!).

By understanding everyone’s efforts (call it their social media goals), the policy can be created with the necessary flexibility and more importantly, it be will be endorsed by everyone in the organization which is another stumbling block when implementing such a policy.

Or how the social media policy unites company social media efforts!

Are we dumb? Lazy? Or naive?

December 11, 2010

We are joining social media platforms and making new friends every day.  Moreover, we even become friends with people we have never met before.  Some people pride themselves in having as many friends as possible and this is not without danger.

When horror stories began to appear in the US, we Europeans had some good giggles about all those stupid and silly things some people did.  Whether they were comments on Facebook, messages on Twitter or videos on YouTube, we could not believe our ears.  We got confirmation of the statement “only in the USA something like this can happen”.  It would not happen in Europe.  We, Europeans, know much better what privacy is plus we even think that our privacy is well protected.  Not to say, that we think we are smarter.  But nothing is further from the truth.  Looking at the newspapers over the last weeks, European horror stories are featured daily and they are not any different than we one’s we laughed at. Why?  Are we as dumb as the Americans or are we as naïf as they are?

Many of us are just unaware of the dangers of social media.  By providing information about yourself on social media you are giving up your right to privacy.  All the information is stored on a server “somewhere” in the world so how can you protect that data?  Of course, social media platforms provide a number of security and privacy settings but your data is still in the cloud and you have no control over it.  Luckily, I see a number of social media policies that clearly state that you give up your right to privacy when you participate to social media but the issue is that most people do not know of the existence of such a policy in their company not to say they have not read them.

Sometime ago I read a great quote by Sam Lessin: “Privacy used to be cheap but now it is a precious good that is expensive to keep”.  Even though this is very correct, I do not entirely subscribe to it.  I want to argue that if you do not want people to know certain details about you, you should just not post or share it on any social media platform.  Privacy is at your own discretion and under your control – End of story and free of charge!

The problem might have deeper roots.  It starts with the fact that 95% of us who participate in social media never read the terms of service of those platforms.  We press “I accept” within seconds since we really have no choice when we want to participate.  It continues with the fact that 50% never changes the standard privacy and security settings and thus opens the can of worms even further.  Finally, no one ever reads a book or manual on how to use the different platforms and that is where the biggest problem is lingering.  Did you ever read a book about Facebook or Twitter?  We no longer read manuals in general (even if we buy a car, mobile phone or digital camera) and are unaware of the pitfalls.  Is that not just the recipe for disaster?

Is there a role for government, business or the general education system here?  Yes, I am convinced of it.  People need this information and built up these skills so they can reduce these types of horror stories.  True, it is up to the individual to take some action but still a gentle push can go a long way.  Or even better, put a “how to use social media” manual or book under the Christmas tree this year for all your friends and beloved family and make them read it.

Does your social media policy fall short?

November 13, 2010

If like me, you keep an eye on the trending topics of your business, interesting stories show up. In the world of social media, there were 2 trending topics over the last week. One was the fact that the American Medical Association just created a social media policy for physicians and the other about a medical technician being laid off on the basis of her comments about her supervisor on Facebook (NY Times article).

First to the policy, it is simple, straight forward and still comprehensive. It can be summarized in 5 short statements:

  • Separate private and professional presence online
  • Respect Doctor-Patient privacy and confidentiality
  • Maintain Doctor-Patient relationship online
  • Use security settings to the maximize protection for your social media profiles
  • Know that your online presence will influence your offline reputation especially true with negative content


This is a great start but it is by no means a complete policy. I would consider it more some guidelines on usage rather than calling a policy. Some hospitals are taking this one step further and making more extensive policies that include aspects such as authenticity, honesty, disclaimers, etc. Good examples are the policies of the Mayo Clinic, Ohio StateUniversity Medical Center, etc.

However, as companies are hurrying towards making and implementing such a policy, the latter trending topic is generating a ground breaking legal case, which is stopping companies in their tracks. What is going on? A medical technician was fired over violating the rule for depicting the company in a negative way on social media (specifically Facebook). National Labor Relations Board has jumped in and said this firing was illegal since employees have the right to talk about the working conditions whether that is at the water cooler, in a bar or even facebook. It is unrealistic to think that barring employees to talk about their company anywhere is an option and even a very restrictive social media policy will not help.

There are five conclusions I would like to draw up:

  • The best way to address such a situation is to have an open door policy where unhappy people can go and vent their frustrations to a real human being with no repercussions so they do not have to do this on social media.
  • Include a paragraph addressing respect for and defamatory statements about company, co-workers, clients, suppliers, etc.
  • Additionally, social media policies should include actions and consequences when the policy is not adhered to.
  • Often forgotten, is the fact that you need to make sure employees have read and understood the social media policy to the same extend as the employment policies.
  • Finally, employees have to keep in mind that they are also tarnishing their own reputation making these types of remarks and burdening their future employability.

hospitals and their social media policy

October 31, 2010


I did not think I was going to write so quickly a follow up to my last week’s post on social media in the hospital area, but my interest was peaked this week by a poll I saw via Twitter (@reedsmith).

The polls asked the question whether the organization/hospital had a social media media policy.  The result was somewhat amazing.

72% of the people who answered (25 answers) the poll said they did have a policy.  This number is very high but due to the fact that on average only 1 in 3 has a policy.  The fact that this poll was run through Twitter probably skewed the results.  The users are already on social media and thus somewhat likely to have a policy.

Looking at some publicly published policies, the areas that are covered can be summarized as:

  • Clear definition on where the medical facility stands when it comes to social media and what usage during and off work-time.
  • Commenting guidelines and rules
    • Focus on positive comments
    • posts with abusive and offensive language will be removed
    • posts with personal attack  will be removed
    • All spam-like posts will be removed
  • Blogging guidelines including the use of disclaimers in both directions (medical facility and the commenter)
  • Identity and affiliation with the medical facility
  • Use of code of ethics including all other applicable policies
  • General rules of conduct (add value, be smart, be authentic, etc.)

Though it is great to see that there are good examples of social media policies being put in place?  There are in my opinion 3 major components missing in these types of policies:

  • What are the clear guidelines to deal with negative comments?  What is the plan?  Who is the go-to person/department?
  • What monitoring is being done to make sure this policy is being “enforced”?
  • How has the policy been communicated to the employees?  Just put on the intra-net does not do it.

So as a conclusion, I think that having guidelines for your employees is great, but they need to communicated and monitored effectively so. People must know what can and can not be done and what to do in cases of emergencies.