Employee Advocacy ~ 16 min

When announcing an employee advocacy program : before, during and after

HR Team, People Experts, Sociabble
HR Team People Experts

Many companies understand the value of an employee advocacy program, and many have considered getting one off the ground. But there is often a moment of hesitation. What is the best way to tell employees about the employee advocacy program and get them engaged? How do you communicate its importance and educate your staff, before, during, and after the launch?

These are good questions, but fortunately, there are also good answers. In this blog post, we’ll explore in detail the best ways to announce the arrival of your program and its various developments. 

What is the Definition of Employee Advocacy?

Perhaps the actual meaning is a good place to start. Essentially, employee advocacy is a term used to describe the scenario when employees promote their organization’s brand, products, services, or even company culture. It often leverages social media platforms to get the word out. 

Employee advocacy can take many forms – from employees sharing company content on their personal social media profiles, to employees speaking positively about their workplace in their day-to-day lives. The main goal of employee advocacy is to increase the company’s reach and visibility, build trust with customers, and attract new talent.

Of course, having a communication plan for the program can make a huge difference. Employees need to be informed and kept up to speed in order to participate fully and effectively in the program. In fact, a communication plan is crucial for any organization, project, or initiative. Here are the key elements that explain its importance:

  • Clarity of Message: A well-structured communication plan ensures that the core message is clear and consistent across all channels for your employee advocacy program. It prevents misunderstandings and ensures everyone is on the same page.
  • Target Audience Identification: It helps identify the target audience effectively. Knowing who to communicate with is as important as knowing what to communicate.
  • Effective Resource Utilization: By planning communication strategies in advance, resources can be allocated efficiently, preventing wastage of time and money.
  • Evaluation and Feedback: A communication plan also includes mechanisms for feedback and evaluation. This helps in continuous improvement and makes the communication process more effective over time for your employee advocacy program. 
  • Goal Alignment: It ensures that everyone understands the organizational goals for employee advocacy and their role in achieving them.

Remember, a good communication plan for employee advocacy should be adaptable to changing circumstances and needs. It’s not a one-time task but an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and updating.

So now that’s been established: When it comes to launching an employee advocacy program, where is the best place to start?

Before the Launch: Preparing the Communication Plan

So the decision has been made, and the employee advocacy launch is imminent. You know it’s coming. But how do you tell the company about it and get them excited to participate? These are the steps to take to craft a communication strategy grounded in your own company culture, and prepare for the big day. 

Define Clear Communication Objectives and Schedule

  • Identify what you want to achieve with the communication plan. The first step in creating a successful communication plan is to clearly articulate your objectives. This could include increasing awareness of the employee advocacy program, driving participation, or fostering a company culture of advocacy within the organization.
  • Align communication objectives with the program’s overall goals. Your communication objectives should directly support the broader goals of the advocacy program. For example, if one goal of the program is to improve engagement, a communication objective might be to ensure every employee understands how they can participate and the benefits of doing so.
  • Create a timeline for communication activities. A timeline helps keep your employee advocacy communication plan on track. It should outline when each communication will be sent, who will send it, and through which channels. This ensures everyone involved knows their role and responsibilities.
  • Plan regular updates and reminders leading up to the launch. Regular updates keep the employee advocacy program top of mind for employees and build anticipation for the launch. These could include teaser emails, countdown posts on internal social media, or posters in communal areas.

Audience Analysis and Communication Channels Selection

  • Understand your employee demographics and preferences. Not all employees consume information in the same way. Understanding your audience’s demographics (age, department, role) and preferences (email, face-to-face, social media) can help you tailor your employee advocacy communication strategy to ensure maximum reach and engagement.
  • Segment your audience for personalized communication. Personalized communication can increase engagement rates. You might segment your audience by department, role, or level of familiarity with the advocacy program, and tailor your messages accordingly.
  • Choose the most effective channels for reaching employees. Consider a mix of internal channels (email, intranet) and external channels (social media). Depending on your audience analysis, different channels will be more effective. Email might be best for detailed information, while social media could be used for more informal updates and reminders.

Sociabble, for example, is an employee communication and employee advocacy platform that comes with advanced targeting features to allow you to segment your audience and reach them via different media formats. You can establish multiple criteria, such as location, office, team, and department, and send specific updates to whoever needs them. This allows you to ensure that employees receive relevant information about the program as it pertains to their skill set and role, and are not overloaded with bulletins that don’t concern them.

Craft a Compelling Message

Develop a concise and engaging message that conveys the program’s benefits. Your core message should quickly and clearly explain why employees should care about the employee advocacy program. This might include benefits to them personally (such as professional development opportunities), to their team (like improved morale), or to the organization as a whole (e.g., increased brand awareness).

Address potential concerns and highlight the value to employees. It’s important to be transparent and address potential concerns upfront. This might involve explaining how the employee advocacy program will work, the time commitment required, or how employee contributions will be recognized.

Create Educational Materials

  • Develop informative materials about the advocacy program. Provide resources to help employees understand their role. These could include an FAQ document, instructional videos, or a dedicated intranet page. The aim is to provide employees with easy access to the information they need to understand the employee advocacy program and their role within it.
  • Identify common questions and concerns. Prepare clear and reassuring answers. Preemptively addressing common questions not only reduces uncertainty but also demonstrates that you value and respect your employees’ input.
  • Plan training sessions or resources to help employees become true employee advocates. Training sessions can help employees feel more comfortable and prepared to participate in the employee advocacy program. These could cover topics like how to share content on social media, how to talk about the company in a professional yet authentic way, or how to handle negative feedback online.
  • Provide ongoing support mechanisms. Even after the employee advocacy program has launched, employees should know where and how they can get support if they need it. This could involve a dedicated point of contact, regular check-ins, or an online forum where they can ask questions and share experiences.

Sociabble Media Drive is the perfect repository and database for keeping important training materials, instructions, and even pre-approved content for sharing on hand. Employees have instant, easy access to the resources they need to support your program, right on their employee advocacy platform. For encouraging employee advocacy sharing across their networks, they have an immediate source of branded images and videos on hand.

To announce an employee advocacy program use a media drive

Announcing Employee Advocacy Programs to the Whole Company

Once the decision has been made and the initial planning phases have occurred, it’s time to start thinking about the roll-out. How are you going to make the rest of the company aware of the employee advocacy program? How are you going to create anticipation and prep the staff for the changes in their daily routine going forward? Here are the ways to announce the employee advocacy program. 

Build Excitement

Teaser campaigns. Start building anticipation with a teaser campaign. This could involve cryptic messages, intriguing images or videos, or countdowns to the launch date. The goal is to pique curiosity and generate buzz around the upcoming employee advocacy program. Sociabble Enterprise Video, for example, is a built-in feature that makes the creation and dissemination of video content simple and fast. It even comes with a real-time translation feature.

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Use of social media and internal communication channels. Leverage all available channels to reach out to your employees. This could include posting updates on internal social media platforms, sending out emails, or even using more traditional methods like posters in communal areas. Each message should build excitement and anticipation for the launch. 

Launch Event

  • Hosting a kick-off event. A launch event can be a great way to formally introduce the program to your employees. This could be a physical event or a virtual one, depending on your organization’s size and location. Make it engaging and interactive, with speeches from leaders, presentations on the program, and perhaps some fun activities. Sociabble Live, a feature of the Sociabble platform, is designed for the creation and hosting of live, company-wide events, including town halls and CEO announcements. 
  • Host a Q&A session. To involve your employees actively in the launch, consider hosting a Q&A session where they can voice their questions or concerns. This not only provides valuable insights but also helps employees feel heard and valued, no matter where they are. And technology can even help. Sociabble’s translation feature makes real-time translation available in over 60 different languages, so that everyone can be engaged and understood.
  • Share success stories or early wins. If your employee advocacy program already has some early adopters or successes, share these stories during the launch. This can encourage others to participate and show them the benefits of being involved. If not, you can also show key numbers from studies.

announce an employee advocacy program through video

Traditional comms

  • Existing comms. Use your existing communication channels to keep employees updated about the program. This could include regular emails, updates on the intranet, or announcements at team meetings.
  • Dedicated comms. Consider setting up dedicated communication channels for the employee advocacy program. This could be a specific section on the intranet, a dedicated email newsletter, or a special hashtag on social media.
  • Track engagement and adoption. Monitor how employees are engaging with your communications and the program itself. This could involve tracking email open rates, attendance at training sessions, or how many employees are actively participating in the program. This is why the Sociabble platform comes with a full package of advanced analytics. It empowers admins to gather data in a user-friendly format based on users, sharing rates, and engagement metrics, then to make the adjustments they need to optimize performance. 
  • Make necessary adjustments. Use the data you collect to make adjustments to your communication/employee advocacy strategy. If certain messages aren’t resonating, or some channels aren’t effective, change your approach accordingly.

Encourage Employee Feedback

Create feedback mechanisms by sending a survey. Feedback is crucial for the continuous improvement of your program. This could involve sending out a survey after the launch event, setting up a suggestion box, or encouraging employees to share their thoughts during team meetings about the employee advocacy strategy.

Address concerns and suggestions. Show employees that you value their input by addressing their concerns and suggestions. This could involve making changes to the employee advocacy program based on feedback, or explaining why certain suggestions can’t be implemented at this time. Always thank employees for their feedback and assure them that it is being taken into consideration.

To announce an employee advocacy program use a survey

After the Launch: Optimizing and Adjusting for the Best Results

Your employee advocacy program won’t be static. It will be a dynamic, evolving thing, whose shape and components you will want to constantly optimize for best results. This is where data and analytics can really come in handy. Here, we’ll explore how to gather, analyze, and act on your data.

Measure and Analyze

  • Key performance indicators (KPIs). Establish clear KPIs to gauge the effectiveness of your employee advocacy program. These could include metrics like the number of posts shared by employees, the reach of these posts, or the engagement they generate.
  • Data-driven insights. Use analytics tools embedded in your employee advocacy software to collect data on your employee advocacy program’s performance. This could involve tracking which types of content are most shared or engaged with, when employees are most active, or which channels are most effective. 
  • Identify areas of improvement. Use your data to identify areas where your program could be improved. This could involve looking at where engagement is low, which types of content aren’t being shared, or where there are gaps in your communication strategy.

Recognize and Reward Advocates

  • Employee recognition programs. Recognize your most active advocates to encourage continued participation in the employee advocacy program. This could involve giving them a shout-out in company communications, awarding them with points, badges, and even some more meaningful reward, such as trees they can plant. 
  • Sociabble Trees, for example, is a program built into the Sociabble platform that rewards employee achievement with actual trees planted in their name, in vulnerable forests around the world. It is an effective employee advocacy tool for generating real engagement, included as part of the employee advocacy software.
  • Incentives for active advocates. Offer incentives to encourage more employees to become active advocates. This could involve running healthy and friendly competitions where the most active advocates win prizes, or offering bonuses for employees who reach certain advocacy milestones.

recognize your advocates

Continuous Communication

Regular updates and reminders. Keep the employee advocacy program top of mind for employees by sending out regular updates and reminders. This could involve sharing new content for them to post, reminding them of the benefits of participating, or updating them on the program’s overall progress. 

Sociabble’s newsletter feature, complete with useful templates, dynamic content, and automated scheduling, makes the sending of newsletters quick and easy. You can even target them, so regions and departments receive the version of the newsletter that’s actually most useful to them.  

Share success stories and best practices. Share stories of successful advocacy to inspire other employees. This could involve highlighting a post that generated a lot of engagement, or sharing tips from your most active employee advocacy participants. 

Iterate and Improve

Incorporate feedback into program enhancements. Use the feedback you receive from employees to make improvements to your formal employee advocacy program. This could involve making changes to the types of content you provide, adjusting your communication strategy, or tweaking your recognition and reward system. 

Sociabble’s survey feature ensures that admins can create targeted surveys and send them to the relevant employees with just a few clicks. Responses can even be set to anonymous, so that participants feel comfortable being more candid in their responses.

Stay up-to-date with industry trends. Keep an eye on industry trends to ensure your employee advocacy program stays relevant and effective. This could involve attending webinars or conferences, reading industry blogs, or networking with other professionals in the field. Make sure to incorporate any relevant trends into your program.

A Summary of the Steps to Take

Recap of Key Steps

In summary, implementing an effective employee advocacy program involves several key steps. It starts with creating a clear communication plan that aligns with the overall goals of the program. The launch should be accompanied by a robust strategy to build excitement and anticipation, followed by a memorable kick-off event that includes opportunities for employee engagement and sharing of early wins.

After the launch, it’s crucial to measure and analyze your employee advocacy efforts’ performance using defined key performance indicators (KPIs) to draw data-driven insights and identify areas of improvement. Recognizing and rewarding advocates is essential for fostering continued participation, while ongoing communication keeps the momentum going. Lastly, iterating and improving the employee advocacy program based on feedback and industry trends ensures its sustained relevance and effectiveness.

Importance of Effective Communication

Effective communication is the backbone of any successful employee advocacy program. It is not enough just to have a program in place; employees need to understand what it is, why it matters, and how they can participate. This requires clear, consistent, and engaging communication that not only informs but also inspires employees to become advocates. Regular updates, personalized messages, and open channels for feedback are all part of this communication strategy, helping to foster a company culture of advocacy within the organization.

Encouragement for Organizations to Implement Employee Advocacy Programs

In today’s digital age, employees can be some of the most powerful advocates for a company. They offer a credible, authentic voice that resonates with audiences in a way that traditional corporate communications often can’t. An effective employee advocacy program can boost brand awareness, help employees create their own personal brand, improve employee engagement, and drive bottom-line results.

quote on when announcing an employee advocacy program

Therefore, organizations of all sizes and across all industries are encouraged to implement their own employee advocacy programs. While it requires careful planning, clear communication, and ongoing management, the potential benefits are significant. Remember, the most compelling promotion comes from those who genuinely know and love your brand – your employees. They are your true employee advocacy leaders. So, start tapping into this valuable resource today.

An Employee Advocacy Platform that Can Help Your Company

If you’ve been considering launching an employee advocacy initiative at your company, or even if you already have but think it could be more effective, Sociabble is a complete employee communications solution that will help you inform, train, and empower your workforce to become advocates online. We’ve already worked with global leaders like Coca-Cola CCEP, the Renault Group, and L’Occitane to optimize their communications, and we’d love to discuss ways we can partner with your company, too. Just get in touch for a free, customized demo.

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