Your employees are an essential asset
An employee is an essential asset of an organisation. Their principles, beliefs and accomplishments reflect the nature of a firm. Employees play a huge role in propagating the company’s vision and mission. There can be no better advocate to advance the company's objectives than the employees themselves. This is why employee advocacy programs are on the rise in large multinationals.
What is an employee advocacy program?
To put it simply, an employee advocacy program refers to the promotion of an organisation by its employees. It is an effective marketing strategy to increase its visibility.
No one can best represent the company’s interests other than its committed employees. Hence, modern-day companies vying to gain a significant market share and compete with their rivals are devising effective employee advocacy programs to enhance their legitimacy, gain positive exposure and keep the customers abreast of the company’s goals, products and services.
Steps to building an effective employee advocacy program
- Identify the organisation’s goals.
An ambitious employee advocacy program must begin by identifying the organisation's purposes. Unless you are clear about your strategic goals, you cannot hope to embark on a successful journey to advocate your company’s interests.
As a first step, identify what your organisation wants to achieve. Do you want to garner a large customer base or spread awareness about your company’s products? Identifying goals would help you to tailor the program accordingly.
- Nurture loyal employees
Hard-working, loyal and committed employees are more likely to steer the company in the right direction than disenchanted and unhappy employees. Hence, enforcing a corporate culture is imperative as it increases employee commitment.
Employees who take ownership of their job and display loyalty to their organisations are likely to be more persuasive and thus carry out a successful advocacy program. Employee advocacy programs also help the employees to grow personally and professionally as these programs provide an excellent development opportunity.
Encouraging horizontal and vertical communication within the organisation also helps develop successful and satisfied employees who can spearhead the mission of promoting the organisation's interests.
- Train employees on how to conduct an advocacy program
Sometimes, employees are unsure about how to conduct an advocacy program. They might not know the correct tools and techniques to advance the company’s interests. They should be provided training on creating engaging content, utilising e-learning platforms and promoting the company’s products.
There are some crucial areas where employees need training. They should know how to target a specific audience and use brand advocacy strategies on social media. Similarly, employees should use SEO best practices and build a community of loyal customers on social media. All this requires training and a lot of hard work.
- Leverage the power of social media.
Underestimating the power of social media is nothing short of committing a faux pas. Organisations quickly leverage social media's power to conduct a successful employee advocacy program. However, to assume that all employees are tech-savvy is also naive.
Research conducted by the Hinge Research Institute indicated that 72% of the employees did not get any training to use social media. The study further revealed that 57% of employees believe social media training can significantly impact productivity.
Hence, companies must train employees in the intelligent use of social media. High-growth firms pay special attention to providing social media training to employees to conduct effective advocacy programs. Companies must also prepare a social media policy to outline the dos and don’ts so that the company's reputation isn’t sabotaged.
- Track progress
While your team is engaged in an ambitious advocacy program, keep tracking the progress. It is worth asking whether the program delivers the organisation’s goals at every stage. For instance, you can measure the program's success by evaluating its impact on the company’s revenue, website traffic, and whether it helped attract new customers. In short, identify key performance indicators and assess the efficacy of the employee advocacy program.
- Reward employees
The best way to acknowledge employees' efforts is by rewarding them for their accomplishments. Your employees deserve to be rewarded for their hard work in conducting an effective employee advocacy program. You can consider rewarding them with a bonus, a day off or sending them to an exotic holiday spot. A recent study revealed that 72% of corporations believe rewarding employees for their work positively impacts employee engagement.
The Final Verdict
Companies have reaped enormous benefits by carefully executing employee advocacy programs. A formal employee advocacy program helps companies increase brand recognition, improve brand loyalty, achieve better search engine rankings, and shorten sales cycles.
Your ability to tap into the potential of your employees by making them influential advocates will decide your company's future. They are the natural face of your brand. Companies should recognise employees as one of their most valuable assets and inspire them to work for the organisation's success through an effective program.