WHY EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY CAN STRENGTHEN YOUR EMPLOYER BRAND
When CEOs are obsessed with feedback, they long understood the value of the net promoter score, a widely used metric to measure the likelihood a customer would recommend your company and services.
More recently, we are finding that companies are evolving this approach to measure the impact of the employee net promoter score – eNPS – and how likely employees are to recommend their employer as a place to work. But the connection between employee brand and employer is often overlooked.
Organizations have long managed their employer brand because the impact is well understood. Developing a reputation as a trustworthy employer both accelerates growth and reduces costs. Consider the following:
- According to a LinkedIn report, a strong employer brand can reduce cost per hire by 50% and turnover by 28%.
- According to the Harvard Business Review, a bad reputation can cost a company at least 10% more per hire.
Managing the employer brand, on the other hand, has become increasingly difficult. Brands are living in glasshouses thanks to transparent company-review platforms like Glassdoor. The employee experience is being told (whether good or bad) through raw and unfiltered stories shared on social media by employees, rather than carefully crafted testimonials or highly polished video snippets.
Furthermore, quit rates have been at their highest levels in recent years, which means that costs for employers who need to attract, hire, and onboard talent are increasing exponentially. This is a C-suite problem. Aligning the employee and customer experience is not new, and the benefits have long been discussed.
According to an IDC survey conducted in July 2021, 85% of respondents believe that “a better employee experience and higher employee engagement translate to a better customer experience, higher customer satisfaction, and higher revenue for their organization.” According to Stephen R. Covey, “always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”
However, the link between employee brand and employer brand is frequently broken. It’s time to connect the dots between how your employees perceive your brand (employee net promoter score) and how they talk about it (employee advocacy). Companies can use this as a standard for measuring employee engagement. Check your brand’s “Recommend to a Friend” score on Glassdoor as a quick indicator to better understand how your employees feel about recommending your organization as a place to work.
Remember that not all employees will be your advocates (and that’s OK).
Don’t make the assumption that all of your employees will want to share brand content on social media. They will not. A company with 10% to 20% of its employees sharing on social media is a good benchmark in my opinion. According to my observations, some organizations in the IT Services industry have more than 30% of their employees sharing content.
Focus on amplifying their brand, not the company brand.
A common mistake is when orginisations allocate topics and themes to socially active employees and expect them to become “influencers” on behalf of the brand. Realising that brand advocacy isn’t about the brand voice, but raising the community voice of employees is the first step to experiencing the true value of employee advocacy.
Don’t expect too much too fast.
Your employees will not progress from social zero to social hero in a matter of weeks. It takes time for them to optimize their social media profiles, build a network, and develop a personal brand centered on their passion and purpose. Employees will be overwhelmed if they are expected to create videos and write 2,000-word blog posts, so create a framework that simply encourages them to take the next step.
Map their learning journey to their social media starting point.
Every employee will begin their social media learning journey at a different point; they will learn at different rates and in different ways. Also, keep in mind that different roles have different objectives. Activating leadership on social media, for example, has an impact on the employer brand, whereas activating your sales team has an impact on revenue goals.
Be mindful of cultural complexities.
When you consider the complexities of different cultures, social media tools, and languages, you’ll quickly realize that engaging employees on social media isn’t a quick fix. Organizations frequently invest in employee advocacy tools with little or no thought given to how they will be managed, measured, and supported. Start a program, not a tool.
Forward-thinking Organizations are quickly realizing the value that their employees’ authentic voices can bring to overall business growth. Extending brand reach, deepening customer trust, and increasing employee loyalty are all potential benefits in my experience. Leaders must recognize that employee advocacy is more than a tool. Humanizing the brand one employee voice at a time is the goal.