Last week, our own VP of Consulting, Renaud Marcadet, was fortunate to help organize and participate in an EBG Employee Advocacy Roundtable. Other participants included industry leaders like Coca-Cola, PwC, Renault, and La Française. The conference was a chance to learn more about the latest topics in the world of Employee Advocacy, as well as an opportunity to share ideas and best practices gained from personal experience. For this blog post, Renaud was kind enough to answer a few questions about the event.
Interview with Renaud Marcadet, VP of Consulting at Sociabble
Q: As someone deeply involved with Employee Advocacy, what’s the best part of organizing and participating in an event like this? What do you look forward to?
A: The best part was without a doubt the opportunity to help host an event with over 100 leading global companies. They’re some of the most recognized brand names in the world. True industry leaders. And to receive feedback from organizations of vastly different sizes, ranging from a few hundred employees to over a hundred thousand employees. Also, to listen to them engage with Employee Advocacy at different levels. That is to say, at a global level, at a local sub level, and even at a project level—that was exciting and informative as well. The whole experience is very educational. And we gain so much from listening to the learnings of others.
Q: What were some of the latest trends in Employee Advocacy and Strategic Branding that were discussed? How has the landscape changed in the past year?
A: One of the topics that came up was balancing the “freedom of expression” necessary for social media to maintain its authenticity. This, with the desire of many companies to have some control over how employees portray their employer. We also discussed how Employee Advocacy can and should be a trend embraced on a global scale, with all employees involved in EA projects. Lastly, we also talked about the benefits a strong Employee Advocacy initiative can have for internal communications overall. And how EA can be an important part of larger digital transformation projects. That part, in particular, is key.
Q: At an event like this, it’s a great chance to meet and mingle with companies leading the field in Employee Advocacy. Who are some of the companies whose work is setting the trends? How has Sociabble been able to help?
A: Well, there were a number of companies with exciting EA initiatives, many of which Sociabble was fortunate enough to collaborate on. Adecco, for example, is building a strongly engaged EA community of more than a thousand members. BNP Paribas is currently promoting a global EA initiative with a goal of 100% employee participation. Roche has initiated a fully integrated digital transformation program helping employees progress in stages. MMA, Microsoft, and Disney are taking employee advocacy beyond its traditional boundaries to include retailers and customers. Renault is seeding an EA project aimed at onboarding subsidiaries at a global level prior to giving them leads on projects of their own. And Coca-Cola, Idemia, La Française, Exterion Media, and Ividata are all breaking the barriers between internal and external communications. It’s extremely innovative, all of it.
And at Sociabble, we’re proud of the role we’ve played in helping these initiatives get off the ground. It’s always exciting to help companies lead the way and be at the forefront of Employee Advocacy. It’s wonderful to watch their progress.
Q: In addition to best practices, it’s also common to discuss things that should be avoided. Are there any current practices that are not a good idea when it comes to EA?
A: There are definitely things to avoid. For one, it’s not a good idea to launch an Employee Advocacy program as a stand-alone external communications initiative aimed at just a few. It needs to be comprehensive and inclusive. Also, forcing participation or trying to control employee messaging is not a good path to take. That should be avoided. And lastly, not leveraging the internal communications benefits of a strong EA program is another common mistake. Companies can and should maximize those benefits.
Q: How do you see EA evolving in the future? What direction do you think it’s heading in, and how can companies stay ahead of the curve?
A: I see EA being implemented at a more strategic level, as a part of larger, more integrated communications initiatives. I also see universal employee engagement. That is to say, participation goals of 100% becoming commonplace. And I think third-party involvement will become a crucial element of Employee Advocacy as well moving forward. The future of EA is certainly promising. There are lots of opportunities for it to grow and adapt.
To see a video of the EBG Employee Advocacy Roundtable, click here. And if you’d like to download a free demo and learn more about how Sociabble can help with your Employee Advocacy initiatives, click here.