Employee Advocacy: Beyond A Working Relationship?
Anyone who works for a company shares an symbiotic relationship with the organization. The growth of the company is essentially dependent heavily on their employees. Not just in terms of office contribution, but also outside of it.
An employee might speak of their experience working at the organization to their friends, post the perks of the company on social media or even go and promote the working culture to attract more lucrative candidates. The aforementioned actions of the employee comes under the umbrella of ‘Employee Advocacy’. Employee advocacy is the promotion of the various tenets of the organization they work in. It can be about the work culture, brand value or even service oriented through various social media channels or even by word of mouth.
An Organic Touch
Businesses exclusively do not run on facts and numbers. A human element is necessary for the growth of the business as a brand. Social media as a platform for promotion of organization was a far-fetched thought few years back. But, time has changed. Social media is not only a platform to socialize but to promote, to build, to connect and to sustain various relationships. Various relationships that the companies share with their customers. A human element in the form of employee advocacy praising or promoting the company results in better engagement from the customers and greater sense of trust.
Increasing Brand Value
People on an average spend more than 2.5 hours a day on social media platforms. That translates to more than reaching people across the globe. Think about it, you’re a company of 100 employees. Each employee has a social media reach to around, say, 100 people. there is a potential 10,000 audience members to for the company to expand their reach.
Social media is an influential platform to engage in advocacy programs. Big businesses however, have also integrated other approaches. They realize the potential that an employee brings into the company. Free vouchers, coupons, word of mouth and more importantly, the approach of ‘Swag’. The concept of ‘swag’ has been around for a long time. A T-shirt, bottle, a keychain or a laptop stamped with the company logo, unfurling the company potential among the masses wherever the employee goes. What you’re carrying isn’t just a commodity, but a ‘brand’. But, more importantly, you’re a part of the brand.
Recognizing the Brand that Recognizes You!
Imagine you’re on a job hunt. You wander through various profiles of different companies. Suddenly, you come across this post by an employee describing the perks and rewards they received as a result of their hard earned work. Recognition makes an individual feel a part of something. They inherit a sense of belonging with the organization translating into the appreciation social media post. As a job seeker, one is not simply attracted towards the lucrative packages but also towards the realm of appreciation that exists within the workplace.
There however, remains some cautionary measures. Not everyone has the same level of confidence and enthusiasm to become a company advocate. Providing too many perks and incentives can often shift the focus in gaining those prospects rather than work towards brand building. Before building brand communication through the employees, individual communication within the organization needs to gain a stronghold first.
Sustaining the Brand?
Employee Advocacy is yet to be explored in its full potential by many organizations. There is no linear road to success in this approach. It is a web of many factors of engagement, trust, employee relations etc. establishing engagement at the individual level among various employees is a stepping stone to building Brand Advocacy. Stop looking for a one stop solution, strong foundations take time to gain a foothold. Employee Advocacy begins at the root level through an employee but translates to a social echo elevating brand building. You might build a brand, but without advocacy, how would you sustain it?