'Very, very few people or organisations know why they do what they do. And by "why" [...] I mean: What's your purpose? What's your cause? What's your belief? Why does your organisation exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?'. This is Simon Sinek during one of his inspiring TEDtalks, back in 2009. The question he poses is a hard, yet inescapable, matter.
Entrepreneurs may find that only 30% of their employees would be able to answer this fundamental WHY question. These are the ones who share the vision of their company, who believe in what their company does and actually care about it. Very often, these are the people who will do things for the company before anyone asks them to. Think about the words of praise they are spending for their company when talking to family, friends and acquaintances or their sharing on social media of company's news and campaigns.
Sure, there is no way to measure the impact of 'traditional' word-of-mouth, but that isn't true when it comes to social media conversations. For instance, what if entrepreneurs could see which employees are driving traffic to the company's website through their personal profiles? And what if they could estimate how much money would be saved in online paid campaigns if more people took on the same social sharing habits? Think about this: if 1,000 employees of a company, all of which have an average number of connections on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, start sharing between 5 and 15 posts per month through their personal social media channels, the company could save up to £ 54,000 in PPC over a 12 month period.
Dedicated employees will do what they do because they believe in their company and want it to succeed, but some recognition can only be beneficial. By putting an employee advocacy program in place, companies can acknowledge and reward employees' spontaneous efforts. Additionally, employees can get access to fresh, valuable content and industry insight they can share immediately, establishing themselves as experts in their field.
The individuals who really understand the WHY of a company also have a fundamental role in getting more people on board with employee advocacy. By appointing one - or some - of the most dedicated employees as 'employee advocacy champion(s)', companies can better ensure the success of their employee advocacy program.
Someone who will take ownership of the project and work hard to show its benefits to all co-workers, that's your employee advocacy champion. How to find one? Start from that vision-sharing 30%, and look for someone who is...
It goes without saying. An employee advocacy champion (who we may call EAC from now on, just for brevity's sake) is someone passionate about what they do and the company they do it for. Having a deep understanding of the company's ethos and sharing those same values is also very important.
2) Socially Charismatic
Your EAC should be an undeniably awesome team leader. We could even use the world 'trend setter', if it didn't bring to mind catwalks and iphone1's. Anyway, it should be someone who knows how to inspire change and innovation in others.
3) Sold on employee advocacy
To inspire action, your EAC should be the first one to believe employee advocacy can benefit both co-workers and companies at large, basing his confidence on stats and case studies.
4) Trusted by peers
All colleagues, at every level of the hierarchical ladder, already hold your EAC in high regards. And it's not only for professional merits, but also because of their personal relationship (chances are, this is the kind of person most colleagues like to hang out with). When that's the case, half the job of the on boarding process is done.
5) Social Media savvy
Your EAC doesn't need to be a Facebook god or a Twitter wizard, but a good grab of how the Social Media sphere works is important. If your EAC also has a strong personal brand and a good following online, well, that's all for the better.
Which posts are working? Which aren't? What time of day people are most likely to engage with content? Are videos worth the while or should we stick to images? As a social media savvy individual, your EAC already has online posting strategies, ready to be shared with the rest of the team.