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How is your business fighting the COVID blues? With businesses across the country physically closed, many are relying on their at-home workforce to keep the proverbial lights on during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Even if you haven’t had to shut completely, the changes your team are enduring are likely having a profound affect on them. Employees are less engaged and focused while they struggle to manage their personal and work lives colliding, while the endless newsfeed of COVID-19 pandemic rolls in the background. As a manager, it’s hard to imagine team-maintaining, never mind team-building.

While management should work to keep employees from feeling isolated and encourage mental and physical well being, providing clear communications to all staff is also important to maintaining and building your team during the crisis. Whether it’s important news on closures, flash sales, marketing and social media messaging, or other vital initiatives, making sure your entire staff is aware of these updates and actively engaging with and sharing them with their clients and peers is critical.

If building on your team’s strength is important to your business during the coronavirus pandemic, you should consider starting an employee engagement program for your company

An employee engagement program can be just what your organization needs to get marketing content in front of new and existing customers. Only publishing content to your own branded channels isn’t enough to guarantee your target demographic sees your latest blog post or video. Usually, there simply isn’t enough budget to promote every single post you publish to every single social media channel. That’s why more businesses are turning to the power of their employees to share content and advocate on behalf of the company.

The Power of Employee Engagement

Before we dive into tips and tactics for success, let’s set the stage for why employee engagement is valuable in the first place. There are a host of facts and figures we can throw at you, but we’re going to stick with some of our favorites:

  • 85% of employees are already “Not Engaged” at the workplace
  • Companies with highly-engaged employees are 21% more profitable than those with low engagement
  • Company cultures that actively drove employee engagement grew revenue by an average of 682%
  • Engaged employees make their organizations 17% more productive and 21% more profitable.

Why Is Employee Engagement So Powerful?

Because Employee Engagement provides a connection point between the individual employee and the greater organization. 

Most employees don’t read every piece of content that your business creates. They don’t know about the Taco Tuesday employee happy hours or the volunteer work your organization is doing. They don’t necessarily have insights into what new products are being developed or how their senior leadership is being portrayed as a thought leader. 

By empowering your employees to share this content onto their personal channels, it provides them with an opportunity to engage with that content and understand facets of their company that they might otherwise know. Content shared by employees has a greater opportunity to resonate with that employee’s social network than content shared by a brand or an organization. People are simply more likely to trust the message your employee shares, even if it’s the exact same message that your brand shared.

Plus, they can have the opportunity to earn prizes or other rewards as determined by your management team. 

The more transparency an employee has into the “going on’s” of the business, the more connected they feel to their business, the more engaged they are at work.  

Are you ready to put an Employee Engagement Program into place yet?

Five Best Practices for a Successful Employee Engagement Program

1) Use a Pilot Program to Work Out the Kinks

As with any new process or system, to encourage a high adoption rate, the processes need to be road tested to work the kinks out. From there, it can be rolled out to a larger audience. For an employee engagement program, this means conducting a 60- to 90-day pilot program.

Your pilot program can focus on a single department, business vertical, or a group of individuals. Whatever you choose, be sure that your employees understand the “Why” behind your employee engagement program. Incorporate an incentive (more on that later) to help ensure their participation in the program. Once the pilot is complete, ask participants for their honest feedback to identify potential areas of confusion or weakness in strategy, imagery, or layout. After a successful pilot program, it’s time to roll out your employee engagement efforts to your entire organization.

2) Recruit a Critical Mass of Employees

Speaking of rolling out the program company-wide: successfully recruiting employees means exploring opportunities to guide as many of them as possible into the program. A single company-wide email isn’t going to cut it. Your recruitment efforts need to be omnipresent and hit multiple employees multiple times over multiple channels.

Send email on a regular, ongoing basis that reminds employees to join the program if they haven’t already. Include success stories and employee spotlights of those who have already joined the program. These messages help communicate the value of your employee engagement program to the individual employees and serve as a reminder to join. Finally, be sure to incorporate your employee engagement program into your on-boarding efforts. This will introduce employees to your program from Day 1.

3) Share Content that Speaks to Your Employees

A successful engagement program isn’t just a megaphone for your company’s press releases. If all you do is share one type of content, you’re going to start to lose employee participation. Instead, be sure you’re using the program to send a mix of content that both speaks to potential customers as well as to the employee in the program. Ask your employees about the type of content they would be most excited to share. Some common topics for successful employee engagement content include:

  • Content that focuses on the culture of the company
  • Content that trains and inspires your employees
  • Content that announces new positions or career opportunities
  • Content that promotes company growth

Remember, a successful employee engagement program has to engage both the employee sharing the content and (potential) customer viewing it.

4) Incentivize Your Participants

If you want your employees to stay engaged throughout the life of the program, you’ll likely need to incentivize them in some way. You want your employees to continue to share even if they’re slammed to the gills with projects, deadlines, and deliverables. Your incentives don’t have to be too outlandish. Something as small as a $10 Starbucks card can help ensure that your employees are regular participants in your program.

Employee engagement program incentives should be as on-brand to your organization as possible. As a start, consider the following as potential incentives:

  • Branded merchandise (unique to the program)
  • Public recognition in company memos, emails, etc.
  • Company perks like extra PTO, premium parking, etc.
  • Free lunches
  • Unique experiences

Pro Tip: Use SocialToaster’s built-in survey feature to find out exactly what your participants want for prizing, allowing you to develop prizing that your Superfans can’t wait to share for.

5) Make the Program Easy to Participate In

By far, the greatest shared trait of successful employee engagement programs is that they make participation simple. Your employees may only have a 5- or 10-minute window to do their social sharing. Asking those employees to create a post to share within that window of time, you’re going to have a high abandonment rate and is not realistic.

Thankfully, there are a variety of tools designed to make participation in an employee engagement program easy as pie for the employee. SocialToaster was built on the foundational idea that participation in an engagement program should be as easy as clicking a single button.

Our patented process allows your advocates to share in the click of a single button. Your program manager simply uploads the link, lead image, and accompanying text. SocialToaster creates a pre-built post which the manager sends to all members of the program via email asking them to share. All your employees have to do is click the button in the email and they can easily share your content to their social networks.

We’ve also integrated artificial intelligence, making sure your latest social media updates, blogs, and videos are always in your employees’ inbox.

Employee Engagement Programs Meet A Variety Of Business Needs

Whether you are building brand awareness, generating content engagement, or engaging in social selling, your employees are the perfect vessel for helping to ensure your content gets seen.

Ready to get started? Let one of our employee engagement strategists help to launch your employee engagement marketing program today – send us an emailrequest a free demo, or give us a call at 855.62.TOAST!