Employee advocacy software can help businesses engage with their staff in order to produce results and improve workplace cultures. Perhaps your business hasn’t adopted an employee advocacy program just yet and you’re exploring further on exactly where to start.
We’ve provided some insights to get you on track to launch your employee advocacy program and get a head start to Q4.
According to Gallup’s 2018 “State of the Global Workplace” report, only 15% of employees around the world are engaged in their jobs. When workers don’t feel empowered in their roles, they might not put forth their best efforts, instead of doing the bare minimum to get by. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to employers that a majority of their staff members “work to live” rather than “live to work.”
With the lack of engagement as prevalent as it is, employers should make it their responsibility to get employees re-engaged in their workplaces. Even though it might take some strategic planning and trial and error, the efforts are well worth the payoff of stronger employees.
Here are the major reasons it pays to engage your workforce:
Improve Brand Awareness
When you’re looking to improve your organization’s branding strategy, it pays to work from the inside out. In order to make sure you’re sending out a message that will please your customers and prospects, it is imperative that you start with your employees.
They are the people behind your brand, the ones communicating marketing and sales initiatives, speaking with customers and commenting on their experiences within the organization with their peers and friends on social media. The attitudes they showcase about your brand can dramatically impact the ways in which your customers view you.
In today’s technology-driven society, it’s easier than ever for customers and prospective employees to see the real side of your business, as communicated by employees.
Negative reviews and comments from employees on Glassdoor, Twitter or LinkedIn can create missed opportunities in sales and employment efforts. With an employee advocacy program comes a more strategic approach to managing the external communications such as online reviews, social shares and maintaining brand credibility to outsiders.
This can help open doors for more opportunities while making the jobs of sales and HR teams much easier.
Lower Turnover Rates
Hiring top talent is a growing challenge for organizations. Since Q3 and Q4 are seasons when companies ramp up hiring, ensuring your employer brand is top of mind can be a challenge. Engaging and retaining employees is an area where companies take a major hit.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 3.4 million employees voluntarily left their jobs each month from January to March 2019. Employee retention is a major priority for businesses of all sizes. Not only do high turnover rates reflect poorly on the company — thus impacting its branding — they also lead to high costs and negative productivity.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)’s 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report stated that the average cost it takes to hire a new staff member is $4,129. This amount is comprised of talent acquisition initiatives — including the costs to post on job boards, attend recruitment events and perform background checks — as well as onboarding and training for the new hire.
In addition to the high cost it takes to replace employees, many employers suffer from the lost productivity that occurs when they don’t have the resources to handle the slack resulting from a staff member who has left. Perhaps there’s nobody else on the team who’s qualified to do some of the tasks the former employee did, causing them to be done poorly or incorrectly. Or maybe there aren’t enough team members available to take on these additional responsibilities. The SHRM reported that the average time it takes to fill a position is 42 days.
The loss a team can face when they don’t have adequate manpower to cover a former employee’s duties can be significant.
When employees feel appreciated and encouraged in their workplaces, they will be less likely to seek out new opportunities. Employee advocacy programs serve to create a shared sense of purpose among staff members of all levels; this united front helps them feel acknowledged and like part of a team.
Make It a Plan and Priority
Now that you understand why it’s important to implement an employee advocacy program in Q4, you’ll need to figure out the best practices for executing one.
Employee advocacy programs typically work best when they are governed by a formal plan. Having a specific strategy in mind ensures that business leaders will stay accountable for employee advocacy, not letting it slip through the cracks.
If it’s truly a priority for your business, it’s crucial that you treat it as such and designate adequate focus and attention toward it.
Encourage Social Selling Strategies
The start of September also means it’s game time for sales teams. With lofty quotas and revenue goals, sales teams are often unequipped with the necessary tools to meet their objectives. Even more so in the latter half of the fiscal year, sales teams are engaging prospective customers and trying to close business before the year ends.
A major component of an employee advocacy program is social selling, the practice of using social media and original content to connect with leads and prospective employees. This function acts to promote brand awareness and improve employees’ understandings of brand goals and initiatives.
Companies should provide sales professionals with tools for success to help them become effective social sellers. They might initiate social media policy revamps in order to get employees on the same page when it comes to priorities and regulations.
Businesses can also organize training sessions that educate employees on how to adopt effective social selling practices by sharing and creating their own thought leadership content.
With employee advocacy, sales professionals can add an additional channel to their sales strategy. By interacting with prospecting customers on social media, you have an opportunity to educate them with content which creates a higher likelihood to start a conversation.
Run a Pilot Program
Before committing to your employee advocacy program, it might be best to test the waters. There may be staff members at top of mind who are currently acting as brand advocates and can help. Whether it means they are sharing informative content on their social media platforms or actively engaging in the corporate culture, these are the workers you’ll want to work with initially to develop an employee advocacy action plan.
Current employee advocates can work with your business’s executives to create a pilot program to help refine the organization’s approach to social selling and training systems. Since they are already engaged in the company, they may be more likely to take risks and less likely to let a failed attempt hinder them from continuing to roll out the system.
These individuals can also turn other employees on to the employee advocacy program, encouraging them to buy in and become active participants once the pilot program has proven successful enough to become a full-scale system.
Engage Your Staff Through Employee Advocacy
Implementing an effective employee advocacy program doesn’t happen overnight. With adequate time, effort and technology, businesses can improve staff engagement to produce results and earn a return on investment.
With an intelligent, user-friendly employee advocacy platform, businesses can transform their workplace into a hub of engagement and thought leadership. Ensure your employees have a centralized location in which they can share and distribute original and found content, which they can post to their own social channels or read during the workday to promote professional development.
As with any marketing technology, it is important to measure the performance of your employee advocacy program; showing you where you can improve and where you are succeeding so you know how to optimize and scale.