Employee Advocacy has become a hot topic of late and for very good reasons.
Firstly, and most importantly, it’s a good reflection on your company ethos and business practices if your employees have only good things to say about your brand in an unprompted way.
And secondly, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is famously quoted as saying
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”.
In an era where the ‘room’ is now quite often online social media it can be impossible to monitor and react to everything that is said about your company.
In addition to dealing with a volume of chatter about your brand across different social media channels, there is also the problem surrounding ‘reach’.
Increasingly, social media platforms are reducing the ‘reach’ or number of people a business account can contact through a post. Facebook is the best example of this. They have recently changed their algorithms to favor interactions between personal accounts meaning a business account needs to advertise or pay to be heard.
Brand Ambassadors: Power To The People
One of the most constant and more powerful forces in the marketing world is the phenomenon of peer to peer recommendations.
In his now famous TED Talk in 2009, Simon Sinek evangelized that “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”.
If your employees understand why the company is providing the product and services and believe in the value you are adding for your customers, they will become a willing army of brand ambassadors.
In a research report on Employee Advocacy LinkedIn found that on average, employees on LinkedIn have 10 times more connections than a company page has followers. This means your employees will be more impactful when dealing with sharing company updates and news.
Similarly, the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer found that “62% of people trust a brand’s social media more than its advertising”. Online ads will get you in front of eyes, but it doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome.
Quite often we can forget the behind the technology of the internet and social media is a network of people trying to communicate and learn from each other. Your employees are these people.
The Power Of Your Employees
Wouldn’t it be great if your staff generally had positive things to say about your brand? Or even better, be willing to stand up for it and counter any negative comments that are misleading or inaccurate.
We have written quite a few posts in the past about how to foster a good corporate culture and develop positive employee relations within your organization.
Here is a summary of how you can begin your journey towards promoting the idea of Employee Advocacy.
1. Employee Attendance
For your employees to become advocates they must be happy when coming to work. While absenteeism may be less likely in smaller companies (the missing bodies are easier to spot) it can be an issue for medium to large sized organizations. There is a cost to employees not turning up, but it also might reflect a disconnection and/or disinterest by the employee in the company itself.
2. Make Employees Feel Part Of The Value Chain
In Simon Sinek’s TED Talk he highlighted that companies are typically good at describing their ‘What’ and their ‘How’, but not so good at describing the ‘Why’. If the company does not understand ‘Why’ they are doing things, the employee is not likely to either.
An Employee Value Proposition will go a long way to articulate the company’s ‘Why’ but also how the employee plays a role in making that happen.
This will need some careful consideration and backing by senior management. This article would be a good starting point.
3. Encourage Employee Engagement
Everybody likes to have their voice heard. We found this out in early 2017 when we surveyed 400 fulltime employees of large companies. We found that over two thirds of these employees were open to exploring or were already actively seeking another job opportunity.
When was the last time your organization asked for employees’ opinions? More importantly, would your company act on what they told you?
4.Ensure Communications Is A Two-Way Street
A by-product of good communications within a company is good morale. When the economy is growing, and business is going well it’s easier to talk about all things work related. However, in a tough economy when business performance is under the microscope it’s even more important to keep communicating.
By implementing a good structure of regular, two-way staff-management communication sessions you have a better chance of keeping the lines open and flowing with information during a down-turn.
5. It’s About More Than The Job
We discussed the problem of employee absenteeism above. An even bigger issue is the potential causes of absenteeism. Jeffrey Pfeffer addressees this issue his 2018 book “Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance — and What We Can Do About It”. Pfeffer, who is a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, found that 61% of employees blamed workplace stress on illness and 7% said they had been hospitalized. Job stress costs US employers more than $300 billion annually.
Try as we might we will not be able to please all the people all the time. A lot can be done to mitigate against conflicts in the workplace, but chances are there will be some.
The only thing worse than the conflict itself is ignoring a conflict and allowing it to grow and become more damaging. It is important conflicts get addressed, both sides are heard, and everyone works towards a solution.
Our blog post from April 2017 deals with this issue directly.
Technology Can Help With Employee Engagement
All your employee engagement efforts can be made easier by using innovative technology. Mitrefinch Time and Attendance software can help you automate, record and schedule a lot of employee related tasks. Why not see for yourself click below to book a demo.