Employee advocacy is exactly what its name would suggest. It is the promotion of your business by your employees. While companies can (and do) ask employees to talk up the organization as part of their jobs, the most effective employee advocacy is freely given by employees who simply love their work enough to want to tell people about it.
A highly engaged workforce is likeliest to participate freely in employee advocacy, offering employers yet another reason to prioritize employee engagement strategies. Exactly how “employee advocacy” is defined will be specific to the organization. In general, however, employee advocacy measures things like:
- How likely employees are to recommend the products and services of the company they work for to someone they care about
- How likely employees are to recommend the company they work for to people they know who are looking for a job
Here is what you need to know about improving employee advocacy in your organization.
Employee Engagement Is the Foundation for Employee Advocacy
Without genuine employee engagement, any employee advocacy that takes place is likely to seem forced and half-hearted. When you have an engaged workforce, they are likelier to speak up on behalf of their employer. The great thing is that employee advocacy, when authentic, further feeds into employee engagement, creating a positive cycle.
For employee engagement (and employee advocacy), trust is essential. Ninety-six percent of employees who consider themselves engaged in their work trust the people who run their companies, while only 46 percent of disengaged employees feel this way. Employees who trust their organization and its leaders are generally ones who internalize the company’s mission and values, resulting in better engagement and a higher likelihood of employee advocacy.
Advocacy Metrics Depend on Your Goals
Advocacy, of course, is a broad term, and it will mean different things to different organizations. Though employees freely recommending your products and services or recommending your company to people seeking employment are strong employee advocacy metrics, sometimes you need to use metrics that are more specific.
Employee engagement strategies that do not include the use of metrics (including employee advocacy metrics) may or may not evolve in a way that is beneficial to the business. Hence, wanting employee engagement and advocacy is one thing, but ensuring it happens through metrics is quite another. Even if you want to measure “how many new hires came here because of word-of-mouth recommendation of a current employee,” you may want to dig a little deeper and find out exactly how those “word-of-mouth” recommendations actually came to be. Here is how.
If Recruiting Success Is Your Goal
Naturally, you want to hire the best talent for your needs, with the least amount of effort in finding them and bringing them on board. In the real world, however, having a strong team of talented individuals requires hard work, direction, and dedication. Investing in workforce engagement is a smart investment in your future recruiting success because studies have repeatedly shown that companies with engaged workforces get higher quality job candidates.
Therefore, if recruiting success is your primary goal for employee advocacy, you need to learn exactly how your employee advocates are able to draw people to your organization. Some metrics that may be valuable to you include:
- How many times job postings are shared on social media
- How much traffic comes to your careers page on your website through social media
- How many new hires say they were encouraged to hire by a current employee
- How long the recruiting process takes when social media is used as a recruiting tool
If Better Brand Awareness Is Your Goal
Maybe you have your recruiting process in hand and are interested in employee advocacy for the brand itself. This is a great goal because employees can be a tremendous asset for raising your brand’s profile. Here are some metrics employee engagement strategies typically include for measuring brand awareness:
- Social media shares concerning your products and services
- Click-through rates for organic social media posts and social media ads
- Number of hashtag mentions
- Audience growth for your brand over various shorter and longer time periods
- Number of surveyed customers who say they were referred by a current employee of your company
Encouraging Employee Participation in Advocacy
First, it is important to let employees know that they are encouraged to talk up your products and services and your desirability as an employee. Assuming they know this, building a strong foundation of employee engagement is the most important step you can take to encourage employee advocacy.
Learning about your corporate culture and understanding how your employees view the company are two indispensable tasks for improving employee engagement. Do not assume you know how employees regard you as an employer. Ask. This requires setting aside ego, but it is the only way to get the truth about how employees see their employer and the leadership there.
If problems come to light, then understanding and addressing them are paramount. Track metrics like employee retention and employee referrals for new hires. Over time, these metrics should tell the story of how well you are addressing employee engagement and encouraging employee advocacy.
The benefits of strong employee engagement strategies are well-documented, with employers that have engaged workforces outperforming their peers in terms of growth, earnings per share, and reduced employee turnover. If your goal is strong employee advocacy, you will not get there without great employee engagement, and you will not know how well you are engaging your employees unless you define it and measure it repeatedly.
Employee engagement apps are increasingly important to employee engagement strategies. They can deliver training, update employees on company information that affects them, poll them about various preferences, and encourage employee feedback. HubEngage is an employee engagement app platform that lets you create the right employee engagement app for your organization. Whether you make high-fashion shoes or oil drilling rig parts, creating a custom employee engagement app helps ensure leadership and frontline workers are on the same page and are working toward common goals based on shared values.
One of the most outstanding features of hubEngage is its analytics capabilities. At your fingertips, you have the power to measure critical employee engagement and employee advocacy metrics automatically. You will spend less time collecting and analyzing data, and more time ensuring your corporate culture is one of which you are proud. Employee advocacy is a key ingredient in many employee engagement strategies. Try the hubEngage app for free to learn how to turn the abstract concept of “engagement” into measurable data that benefits your company and your workforce.