Enabling employees to be advocates isn’t an easy task. Apart from gaining their commitment and alignment to be ambassadors of the brand you also need to enable their positive effort. An employee advocate is one who is passionate about positively communicating about the organization, is willing to extend support to promote and influence people (online and offline), will stand up for the organization during a crisis, can go the extra mile to engage stakeholders and has credibility within and outside the firm. They don’t necessarily have to be high performers in the organization.
With employees’ time-poor, trust eroding among stakeholders and companies needing every extra bit to communicate the brand values and stories consistently and authentically it helps to build your strategy on a tool that is integrated, intuitive and inclusive.
Apart from having the basic features like news feeds, analytics, language options, platform integration and formats here are a few tips to consider while evaluating your organization’s employee advocacy tool. I recently blogged on building a case for employee advocacy. This post extends the intent.
Integrated: The need is to make the lives of employees as communicators easier. By allowing for integration with existing systems, appreciating peoples’ ways of working and personal styles and empowering employees to project their best selves are attributes that will help advocacy initiatives. Questions to consider: Does the tool improve and blend into employees’ collective effort? Can it mesh together the myriad pieces of information and platforms to enhance the organization’s impact? Is it reducing employees’ time to sift, sort and succeed in building their personal brands?
Intuitive: Organizations expect to do more with less and employees are coaxed to add greater value with limited resources. Therefore, aligning employees’ goals and those of the organization can be a challenge. A tool that ‘sense-makes’ the dynamic world of work can be very useful for organizations. By knowing the unique value each employee offers to learn from choices they make, the advocacy tool can optimize how organizations raise their game. Questions to consider: Can it differentiate a crisis from a ‘business as usual’ event? Does it unite the varied goals of internal teams like internal communications, HR, hiring, leadership, and sales? Is it flexible enough to ‘control’ or ‘let go’ depending on the organization’s needs?
Inclusive: Audiences and their expectations vary – from workforces on the move to engaging blue and white collar staff, from distributed teams to multigenerational employees. Assessing and curating content, gauging influencers and garnering timely support can help improve employee advocacy. Every employee is a potential brand advocate and getting each to discover their best and as team players are essential for the success of advocacy measures. Questions to consider: Can the tool offer opportunities to bring differing perspectives to the fore? Will deepening the relationships with stakeholders allow for a broader involvement among employees? Does it recognize valued contribution?
Signing up an employee advocacy tool can be an overwhelming and challenging for communicators and leaders who want to maximize the collective impact employees can make for the brand. While the ROI of engagement and social selling is an easier argument to make, the ability of the platform to seamlessly influence, unite and amplify employees’ commitment is the differentiator.