Launching a successful employee advocacy program is no easy task, and one of the major challenges companies face is varying levels of enthusiasm among employees themselves. In this post we examine three common employee advocate profiles, as well as how to manage them effectively.
1 – The Leader
By “leaders” we mean people who were onboard from the word go; people who pushed for the introduction of social media initiatives and have since led the way in the adoption of employee advocacy. Leaders are the people who acknowledge social media as a valuable intra- and inter-company communication tool that is particularly effective when used to engage all employees in online communication and brand positioning.
If you think your work here is done and leaders can be left to their own devices, think again. The identification, empowerment and recognition of leaders is an essential aspect of your employee advocacy program, as it is leaders who are in the best position to put forward ideas about how to develop the initiative and boost engagement. For example, they can share best practices and key social media skills with employees who require a little more encouragement, and play a central role in the organization of campaigns and challenges that keep your employee advocacy program fresh and engaging.
2 – The Follower
Followers are people who go with the flow; they were happy to adopt employee advocacy, but haven’t actively embraced it. For example, they may have signed up to the platform, but they don’t use it on a regular basis. You might think this is no biggie; that employees who haven’t signed up at all are the ones you really need to pay attention to. But transforming followers’ passivity into proactivity often requires very simple adjustments, and can lead to significant improvements.
Why is it important to invest in turning passive employee advocates into pro-active employee advocates? Because if your employee advocacy program is to be successful, it needs to be embraced, not just accepted. Along with other tools, employee advocacy fits into a wider movement of digital transformation which, if it is to succeed, needs the momentum and support of all those involved – much like any change your company may choose to implement.
3 – The Straggler
Yeap, you guessed it: stragglers are those who have thus far shown little or no interest in employee advocacy. Why? It could be for any number of reasons. Perhaps they are unfamiliar with social media, or associate using it with reputational risks that concern themselves and the company. In this case, consider investing in additional training (which could be led by identified employee advocacy “leaders”), during which the benefits of social media communication, as well as best practices, are explained in more detail.
Alternatively, straggling employees may be concerned about the overlap between personal and professional communication, especially on Facebook and Twitter. This is where it can be useful to provide guidelines on and examples of successful personal branding, which actually works extremely well when employees communicate about their personal interests as well as their professional activity.
Another possibility is that straggling employees are unsure about employee advocacy because there is a lack of encouragement from a management level. As mentioned earlier, employee advocacy involves a shift in company culture – even for socially active companies – and therefore requires the full support of the C-suite.
When implementing an employee advocacy program, it’s all too easy to think that engaging employees come down to the content you promote – and to a certain extent, it does. However, it also depends on your ability to react to employees’ enthusiasm (or lack of).
At Sociabble we offer a Customer Success program, which provides companies with support when evaluating and improving the engagement levels of employee advocates. This includes training and workshops, as well as pre- and post-launch support that better enables companies to really get the most out of employee advocacy. Contact us to find out more.