We wrote this post back in 2020. And since then, we may be on the other side of the COVID pandemic, but employees are still choosing to work in either hybrid or remote environments. This means that the struggles of engaging decentralized teams remains a common concerns across industries.
Now, on to the blog post.
With much of the country on lockdown (or soon to be) due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus disease, many employers are moving to telework situations; however, for years, many medium to large businesses (and even some small businesses) have operated with decentralized teams. Communications, Marketing, and other “creative” departments rely on Employee Advocacy Programs to distribute the vital and timely content they are producing instantly to their remote coworkers. This allows them to share it with clients, prospects, stakeholders, and other influential individuals and drive more reach, leads, and ultimately ROI.
But now that almost all employers who are operational have at least some degree of their workforce telecommuting, employee engagement and employee advocacy have become even more important.
Which leaves many companies saying:
What is Employee Advocacy?
Quite simply, employee advocacy is when your employees promote your company/content/marketing message through their personal social networks. In action, the process goes like this:
- You publish a piece of content to your website
- Your employees share that content on their personal social media accounts
- You marvel at the increase in traffic and engagement
But does employee advocacy actually help lift content engagement and drive leads?
The studies say yes. In fact, brand messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when distributed by employees vs. the brand. Also, content shared by employees receives 8 times more engagement than content shared by brand channels. Still not enough? How about the finding that customers referred by advocates have a 37% higher retention rate!
Having employees advocate for your company on their social networks can be huge in terms of increasing social engagement, website traffic and brand awareness; as well as generating sales and attracting top candidates for employment. Why? Because, on average, your employees have 10 times more followers than corporate accounts and can be your best brand ambassadors. When employees share your content, your company has the opportunity to reach new audiences and new levels of brand loyalty.
Not only do employees love your brand (if they don’t, then hire people that do), they also add a strong sense of authenticity to your brand’s message; their followers are more likely to engage with your content if it’s coming from a friend. In fact, according to Cisco “77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from someone they trust.”
How Do I Build An Employee Engagement Program?
Start by selecting an advocate marketing platform that can handle everything from distribution (with company safeguards in place) to rewards. With tool in hand, you’ll want to select a small group of employees to begin a pilot program. Train them on the platform, empower them to make recommendations on how to improve the program and dole out a couple of rewards (a little free lunch or extra hour of PTO never hurts) while they’re testing it.
Once the pilot team has worked out the kinks, you can roll out the program to the rest of the team. Invite employees into the program, ensure that there is proper training, and let the content driving begin! Don’t be afraid to put a little competition behind it either (sales vs. marketing anyone?).
Recognition can take many forms. Prizes, certificates, public recognition or friendly competition are all ways you can show your employees that you appreciate what they are doing while acknowledging them as a voice of your brand.
Five Best Practices for Driving Employee Engagement Through Employee Advocacy
In addition to the above, you’ll want to keep these best practices in mind to drive ROI and engagement in your program.
- Define Your Goals: Before getting started, it is essential to define the goals you wish to achieve through employee advocacy. This will help ensure that your efforts are focused and effective. Examples of goals might include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or improving customer experience.
- Educate and Inspire Employees: To encourage employees to become brand advocates and provide adequate education and training about the organization’s values and mission. Allow them to understand how their work contributes to the company’s overall success. Additionally, by inspiring employees with stories of successes and challenges faced by other departments or teams in the company, you will foster an environment that encourages collaboration and engagement.
- Encourage Sharing: As employees become more familiar with the company’s values, provide them with opportunities to share their knowledge through blog posts, podcasts, or webinars. Encourage employees to showcase their unique skills and expertise that can help to improve customer experience.
- Measure Results: Once you have established a program, measure the results to track progress and identify areas of improvement. This will also allow you to recognize areas where employees are making an impact.
- Reward Engagement: Show appreciation for employee engagement by recognizing individuals who have contributed significantly or achieved certain milestones. Rewards could include public recognition through awards or special privileges such as team dinners or additional vacation days. This will create a positive feedback loop that encourages employees to advocate for the organization.
By following these best practices, you will be better equipped to drive employee engagement through employee advocacy and ensure your program is successful in achieving its goals.
Keeping Work-From-Home Employees In The Loop
Ready to get started? SocialToaster stands ready to help you create, manage and execute your brand’s employee engagement program. Send us an email, request a free demo, or give us a call at 855.62.TOAST today!