How to utilise the power of employee advocacy
Your business offers a great service or product but how can you find new customers and expand your social reach, improve your brand reputation, and boost sales? This is where your employees can help.
Many businesses underestimate the power employees have and how they can positively influence the perception and reputation of a company. They can help make or break a business.
I believe employees should be utilised more, not as a marketing channel, but as an extension of a company’s persona and culture. Here’s a great article in Raconteur by Cath Everett that shows how employees are a key factor to drive the employer brand.
But how can you do this?
Here’s some ways you can go about building employee advocacy.
Your employees are not going to become your advocates for nothing. They’ll want to get something in return. This is where offering incentives and benefits comes in handy.
What do I mean by incentives?
Rewards and recognition
Celebrate your employee’s achievements, wins and successes. Show that they are a valued member of your team. Introduce an awards programme praising success that relate to your purpose and values.
Employees that feel valued are more engaged and are more likely to take pride in their work and who they work for.
Employees will be better at advocating your business if they know what your products and services are. Give them the opportunity to access your products and services with employee discounts.
When they know from personal experiences what the business offers, they can advocate it with first-hand knowledge.
Offer employee benefits that bring added value to your people’s lives. This could be benefits around:
- Childcare – Tax Free Childcare scheme, maternity, paternity and shared parental leave, buying and selling holiday
- Health – Gym membership, onsite gym, dental insurance, private health insurance, fruit basket
- Work life balance – Remote working, flexible working, travel and commuter assistance
- Retirement – pension plan
- Money – performance bonus, employee shares scheme
Help build trust and engagement within your team.
Go out on an away day, take part in team building activities. Go out to the pub (where social distancing allows!)
Bring your team together not just through your work, but through social activities that bridge the gap between work and life.
A trusting team are an engaged team. They’ll help spread the word about the great workspace they work in and the support they receive from such an effective, empathetic company.
During this pandemic, many of these activities may be difficult to do in person. Take a read of this blog to find out how to stay connected with your employees while working remotely.
Branding is a key way to promote your business and strengthen its reputation. As well as the traditional marketing channels, you can also promote your brand using your employees.
This is where promotional merchandise comes in.
Give your employees branded clothing, pens, brochures. As they wear your clothes and use your stationery in their work and personal lives, they actively share your brand to new potential customers.
Employee referral programme
This is a great way for your employees to personally recommend your business as ‘the’ place to work. This not only shows how engaged your people are but also boosts your reputation in the market to your existing and future customers.
This programme opens your business to a new recruitment pool, bringing in fresh talent and expanding your reach through their own network.
Benefits of employee advocacy
It’s amazing the power employees have within a company. It’s not just the senior figures in a business, but every person from the intern to the CEO who has influence.
“Employees have a unique perspective on company values and culture, and the ability to speak with authenticity that can only be earned by their tenure with the brand”
Eric Fuessel, Senior Account Executive, EveryoneSocial
So, you use your employees as your advocates, but what are the benefits?
- It’s cost effective – no large payments for premium marketing programmes
- Further reach – you can access your employee’s personal networks
- Boost in your closed deals and sales – solid evidence of trust showing engaged, happy and active employees promoting your company
There’s a lot of information here, and this only scratches the surface for how to effectively utilise employee advocacy for your brand, marketing and sales objectives.
I hope this shows you the value employee advocacy can bring to your business. It’s a method that should not be underestimated. Your people are your most important asset in your business. You should use this to your advantage.