What is employee advocacy? Simply put, it is the promotion of the company through its employees. It lends authenticity to recruitment and marketing and it expands a company’s social presence. Employee advocacy is a resource that will improve reach and trust for your company brand.
Tapping into your employees’ social and professional networks can significantly expand a company’s reach and lead to an increased customer base and, ultimately, revenue. The National Business Research Institute reports a 12% increase in brand advocacy generates two times the increase in revenue growth. It further offered that a socially engaged company is 57% more likely to get sales leads. The use of employee advocates for brand advocacy exponentially expands reach. Think of a company with 100 employees. The company has 2,000 followers on social media. If each of the 100 employees has 200 followers (friends and family), the reach expands by an additional 20,000 individuals and offers the opportunity to grow deeper via follower networks.
Employee advocacy increases trust in a company’s brand. A Gartner survey reported 15% of those surveyed trust company posts on branding while 70% trust recommendations from people they know. Employee referrals in the recruitment of talent — another form of employee advocacy — have long been viewed as a strategic advantage in finding and retaining top talent.
Jobvite determined while only 7% of job applicants are employee referrals, this 7% also accounts for about 40% of all newly hired associates. Additionally, 47% of employee referral hires have greater job satisfaction and remain with their employers longer than those who are not. Employees who are socially engaged tend to feel more connected with their company and fellow associates. They feel inspired by their employer, optimistic about their company’s future and more confident about its competitiveness in the marketplace.
As a recruitment tool, employee advocacy increases the success of a job search. Hiring good employees requires identifying candidates with the right skills, knowledge, experience and cultural fit. Cultural fit can be the most challenging factor. Experience has shown a current employee who is a strong cultural fit is a great resource for sourcing cultural fit in potential new associates.
Employee networks can also help reach passive job seekers who otherwise may not think about applying. We know the best candidate for a job may not be actively seeking a new position. Tapping into employee social media connections expands the reach for job candidates to passive job seekers as well as individuals of like mind and therefore the right fit. Employee testimonials offer insight to the workplace that job seekers are more likely to trust.
By being a great source for new hires, current associates can help ensure new associates arrive already capable of easily fitting in with current staff and being able to immediately begin contributing.
+ Additional advantages of a strong employee advocacy program include:
+ Greater credibility and professionalism of branding
+ Increased understanding of customers needs and interests
+ Additional support for customer remediation when problems occur
+ Recognition of high performers and leadership potential
+ Increased organizational pride
+ Development of employee presentation skills by encouraging and supporting presentations to outside organizations.
Employees are known to be reputation makers or breakers so it is important to be prepared. It is recommended a company start small to implement a strong employee advocacy program. Identify a core group of employees to support and develop guidelines and materials for use. Make sure to train/coach accordingly. Tracking and rewarding employee advocates for results will strengthen the commitment to the program.
Written by Baker Creative HR Specialist Becky Meister.