Engaging Employees Globally Through Social Media

Social media presents a major opportunity for large, multinational organizations to connect with employees across regions and business units. However, activating a worldwide workforce on social channels requires strategic thinking. 

Earlier this year, Richard Wachtel, Global Social Media Lead at TE Connectivity, shared how his company has successfully driven employee advocacy and engagement through social media.

In this post, we’ll recap Richard’s strategies for engaging employees, how he educated them about the benefits and risks of social media, and his advice for teams looking to launch their first employee advocacy program. 

The Goal: Engage 10,000+ Employees Worldwide

With staff located worldwide, TE Connectivity aimed to leverage its global employee base for social media in 2022. The primary goal was activating employees on their own social channels to share company content. This allows workers to raise their personal profiles while promoting TE Connectivity’s brand, products, and culture. 

However, with over 10,000 staff internationally, driving participation was a monumental task. While some regions like North America readily embraced social media for business uses, other areas required extensive education on its value. Misconceptions like social being only for personal profiles also had to be overcome.

The Grassroots Strategy: Personal Outreach and Education

To drive adoption across regions, Wachtel employed a “grassroots” strategy centered on direct outreach. His team held one-on-one and small group conversations to explain the benefits, provide social media training, and answer all questions. 

Key members of the launch team attended events across business units and offices. They pitched employee advocacy to line managers, HR groups, executives, and anyone needing “convinced.” These personalized connections eased people’s social media fears and built buy-in at all levels.

Wachtel also focused on global inclusiveness. He ensured the program welcomed diverse voices in languages from around TE Connectivity’s footprint. This produced localized content that employees were excited to share based on their own perspectives and audiences.

Executive Buy-in Precedes Wider Adoption

While personal outreach was crucial, Wachtel knew getting high-level executives on board first was essential for success. Employees want to impress leaders and follow their example. 

So his team prioritized signing up TE Connectivity’s C-suite and sales/marketing VPs for the program early on. When staff saw top-down participation, interest grew quickly. “Once a lot of people started to see our executives actively sharing content, people were like ‘Oh my gosh, I want to get on that platform too!’”

This “if they do it, so will I” effect continues driving adoption as employees at all levels mimic social media usage by those above them. Peer endorsement from leaders lends credibility and social proof for employees hesitant about social’s role in business.

Tactics to Keep Employees Engaged

While getting employees onboard is step one, keeping them active over time is equally important. Wachtel employs several tactics to spur ongoing sharing and engagement:

  • Regular platform training and best practice guidance
  • Adding fresh multimedia content daily across topics  
  • Engaging email campaigns with playful subject lines  
  • Combining similar categories so users have abundant content  
  • Continually seeking new ways for groups to use social media
  • Creating “toolkits” with tips to build employee confidence

His team also closely tracks program metrics. They report back key data like brand awareness and content reach to both individual employees and departments. This provides tangible examples of how social media participation benefits people’s performance and TE Connectivity as a whole.

Results: Valuable Content, Visibility and Cost Savings

Within its first year, TE Connectivity’s employee advocacy program delivered impressive results:

  • Massive awareness reach from thousands of employees sharing content 
  • Greatly increased visibility for the brand, open positions and leadership profiles
  • Over $1 million in calculated cost savings from amplified organic exposure
  • A readily available “stockpile” of multimedia content for any business use
  • Closer cross-departmental alignment on brand image and messaging

By putting social media directly in employees’ hands, TE Connectivity created a thriving channel for global brand storytelling. Their employee base now helps attract talent, engage customers, and increase sales in authentic, credible ways.  

Looking forward, Wachtel plans to expand the program’s reach even further. TE Connectivity will also use analytics insights to keep fine-tuning content and engagement. While an endeavor of this scale is truly ongoing, the company built an impactful foundation to grow upon through strategic advocacy.

Key Takeaways for Launching Employee Social Media Programs 

Based on TE Connectivity’s successful launch, Wachtel provided several recommendations for organizations exploring employee advocacy:

  • Build executive buy-in first to pave adoption across levels
  • Develop grassroots support through direct outreach across business units 
  • Create localized content that resonates in different regions
  • Maintain active involvement through training and engagement initiatives
  • Report data and metrics back to employees to showcase value
  • Keep evaluating content performance and user needs to optimize programs

Activating a global workforce on social requires patience and persistence. But as TE Connectivity found, the brand visibility, content, and cost savings generated make the effort well worth it. Their program provides an excellent model for any multinational company to follow.

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