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 objectives of the company than the employees themselves. This is precisely the reason 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 it committed employees. Hence, modern-day companies that are 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 purposes of the organisation. 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, it’s imperative to enforce a corporate culture as it increases employee commitment to the organisation.
Employees who take ownership of their job and display loyalty to their organisation 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 in developing successful and satisfied employees who can spearhead the mission of promoting the interest of the organisation.
- Train employees on how to conduct 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 the 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 are fast leveraging the power of social media to conduct a successful employee advocacy program. However, to assume that all employees are tech-savvy is also naive.
A research conducted by the Hinge Research Institute indicated that 72% of the employees did not get any type of training to use social media. The study further revealed that 57% of employees believe that social media training can have a significant impact on their productivity.
Hence, companies must provide training to the employees on smart 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 reputation of the company isn’t sabotaged.
- Track progress
While your team are engaged in an ambitious advocacy program, make sure to keep tracking the progress. It is worthwhile to ask whether the program is delivering the organisation’s goals at every stage. For instance, you can measure the success of the program by evaluating its impact on the company’s revenue, impact on website traffic, and whether it helped to 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 the efforts of an employee is by rewarding them for their accomplishments. Your employees deserve to be rewarded for the hard work they put in to conduct an effective employee advocacy program. You can consider rewarding them with a bonus, a day off or send them to an exotic holiday spot. A recent study revealed that 72% of corporations believe that rewarding employees for their work have a positive impact on employee engagement.
The Final Verdict
Companies have reaped enormous benefits by carefully executing employee advocacy programs. A formal employee advocacy program helps companies increase their brand recognition, improve brand loyalty, achieve better search engine rankings and shorten the sales cycle.
Your ability to tap into the potential of your employees by making them influential advocates will decide the future of your company. They are the real face of your brand. Companies should recognise employees as one of their most valuable assets and inspire them to work for the success of the organisation through an effective program.