HR Trend of the Week: Employee Advocacy

As marketing tactics and ploys continue to evolve with the
rise of new technology, some businesses are struggling to break through to
their target audiences. But, an employer’s biggest marketing asset could be
right under their nose: their employees. A majority of brands aren’t using
their employees to their marketing advantage.

The concept of “employee advocacy” has been around for a
while, going back well before social media and the Internet became popular.
However, in the past few years, employee advocacy has become a buzzword in the
HR world, and many companies are scrambling to implement a relevant program.

What is Employee

In short, employee advocacy is the promotion of an
organization by its staff members. An employee advocate is someone who
generates positive exposure and raises awareness for a brand through digital
media or offline channels. This may include recommending products to friends
and family. A great advocate represents the best interests of the company both
internally and externally.

Employees Can Do More
Than Just Work

Businesses need to look at employees as more than just people
who are hired to provide services to a company on a regular basis in exchange
for compensation. With our lives intertwined with digital media, it’s
imperative to see employees as individuals who can help maintain and nurture
current business relationships while attracting new customers.

Employees are the most credible voices on multiple topics,
including the company’s work environment, integrity, and business practices.
This means that no matter how often your PR team is getting your name out there,
nothing is more effective than the voice of your employees.

Employee Advocacy
& HR Work Hand in Hand

Empowering your employees to advocate on behalf of your
brand can breed inspiration and increase loyalty within an organization. This
can also increase internal employee engagement and improve internal
communication between team members and higher levels of management.

Simply, people trust other people. When your team is happy
and connected, that can translate into the most effective employee advocates. If
consumers trust your brand they are more likely to convert into customers, and
subsequently turn into brand advocates themselves.

How Can I Start An
Employee Advocacy Program?

You need a few different components to create a successful
advocacy program. Trust is inevitably the most important aspect; employees need
to be trusted to use social networks for professional reasons during work.
There should be guidelines in place that encourage brand promotion but keep it
within reasonable boundaries. Training is essential; it’s important to explain
the basic concept of the program, hold department-specific meetings and provide
any materials that employees will need to get started. Finally, incentives are
known to work. Incentivize
employees to be active in your program with contests, leader boards and prizes.

Overall, it’s important to find the program that works best
for your employees. When planned correctly, employee advocacy initiatives can
make a huge difference in the market perception of your business. Remember, your
brand is your culture, and your culture is your brand.

Key Takeaways:

1. An employee advocate generates positive exposure
and raises awareness for a brand.

2. Employees are the most credible voices on
multiple topics.

3. To start an employee advocacy program, it’s important
to trust your employees and train them properly.

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