Do your employees greet their Monday mornings with a smile, or do they pull a meme-worthy face at the mention of your Monday Zoom meeting? Having moods is one thing, but having a disengaged workforce is an entirely different matter.
Companies with engaged, satisfied, motivated employees are typically the ones that are the most desirable in the market, and the ones that most new talent will flock to as soon as possible. Those that don’t invest in building a cohesive, engaged team culture will likely end up black-listed by their potential candidates. Do you know where your business belongs on that spectrum?
As reasonable as it is to work on customer acquisition and fostering customer-facing relationships, a competitive business also needs to think about employee happiness. Engaged employees working with a purpose in mind are much more likely to become your brand’s most valuable advocates.
Your employees are the social proof in the pudding of your employer reputation. They are the ones to inspire others to join your team, not the ads, the products, or the customer-centric website.
Here’s how you can harness the power of employee advocacy and make it part of your business DNA to nurture strong employee engagement.
Leverage unbiased data to improve
Your internal processes affect how happy or annoyed your employees will be. If you continuously fail to provide a clear structure, transparent accountability, reasonable goals, and ongoing support, you cannot expect them to perform at their best.
This is especially prevalent in agile project management systems, such as Scrum, where the dynamics of the process can be overwhelming for many when poorly managed. However, you can do your best to adapt and learn. Start using scrum artifacts and other complementary data to improve your project management procedures.
This kind of data will give you unbiased knowledge on where you’re failing your employees in terms of creating a productive work environment. Only then can you expect them to become true brand ambassadors.
Steer clear of messy communication
Are all your communication tools aligned? If you send requests, assign projects, and invite to meetings all from different tools, your teams might be frustrated. Clarity in how you communicate and synchronize all communication channels is pivotal for establishing trust and transparency.
- Make sure you have a tool to host all emails in one place to avoid miscommunications, lost messages, and missed deadlines. Managing several email accounts, multiple projects, and many tasks should be as streamlined as possible with the right tools.
- Use the same platform to integrate other collaboration and communication tools like social media, Google Drive, or chat software. It enables clarity and immediate access for your employees to manage their interactions.
- Simplicity in a unified communications approach allows your employees to avoid burnout and feeling overwhelmed. That alone will set the stage for clarity in your relationship and increase the possibility of turning a regular team member into a brand advocate.
Make time for your junior staff
As the leader in your organization, you’re setting an example as to how you want people to treat one another: with kindness and respect. When you have newcomers on the team, those with little to no work experience, inspiring them to become your advocates will depend on the kind of relationship you develop with them.
One brilliant, yet simple way to empower brand advocacy is to provide mentorship for junior employees that are craving knowledge and experience. It’s a fine opportunity to spot the most talented, aspiring professionals and help them climb the ladder. Plus, you strengthen your authority and employee perception in your business.
Keep your teams motivated
Modern-day professionals want to know why they come to work every day. They are not there just for the paycheck, as hefty as it may be. Employees are driven by values, validation, and of course, a slew of other factors you shape in your culture. Keeping your employees motivated requires a mindful approach to your particular work environment and the professionals that make it up.
- Recognition – every bit matters, so when employees contribute to a project, let them know you see and appreciate their role in your business.
- Feedback – constructive ideas as well as meaningful praise can inspire anyone. Remember to ask for it, not just provide it, because employees who know you listen will feel much more valued for it.
- Rewards – every now and then, going that extra mile to show appreciation should immensely elevate team spirit. Provide meaningful rewards that are experience-based, not just monetary.
- Quality of life – your employees need to know that you value and ensure work-life balance. Check in on them regularly to see how you can improve their quality of life.
Build dedicated social pages for teams
Employee advocacy starts within your culture, but you should also give your teams some direction as to how they can express and communicate it online. Much like you use social media to boost customer bonds, these channels are simple, but effective in strengthening internal relationships and spreading the right employer brand messages.
- Encourage social media engagement among your employees on dedicated social pages for your brand in the role of the employer. Posting relatable, merely human updates on what office life really is (even if it’s remote) will foster close-knit relationships in your business.
- Empower authentic, employee-made content. It will serve as a lead-gen funnel for future talent acquisition campaigns and build up your reputation from within.
- Embed social media content on your site’s career page to showcase what it’s like on the inside. People will feel like heard and valued parts of your professional community, but also create a unified brand image for potential candidates.
Encourage mentorship and sponsorship
Both experienced professionals and rookies are eager to learn and advance. Providing them both mentorship and sponsorship opportunities in your business is a great way to contribute to their growth and success. That alone will inevitably make your workplace much more appealing and encourage brand advocacy in an organic, natural way.
- Encourage mentorship on all levels in your organization. Even the most senior team members can learn something from the younglings when they’re open-minded enough. Plus, you’re not the only one with enough wisdom to impart.
- Be an advocate for employees when they’ve earned it if you expect them to be advocates for your business. Nominate them for higher positions, promotions, team-lead roles, etc.
- Take employees to networking opportunities to open up new doors for them and teach them how to effectively communicate with other industry leaders.
Be mindful of office language and brand voice
You, quite literally, set the tone of your business in how you interact with your employees, both in person and digitally. If you have a newsletter for customers, why not have it for your employees, too, and keep them in the loop on all the latest company news and changes?
Add engaging greetings and email subject lines accompanied by the kind of content that will inspire interest in your employees and spark their curiosity. Engagement shouldn’t end with your Monday meetings, so make sure that every email you send their way retains your brand voice, and encourage the same consistency in office language for your teams.
Finally, make sure you’re managing your email lists the right way, so that every employee is included. Equality and inclusivity as well as openness in how your business is evolving should define how you interact with employees through your newsletters.
Create employee-centric content
In addition to newsletters, your employees as well as potential employees will appreciate informative, educational, and entertaining content from their chosen employer.
- User-generated content can serve as a source of inspiration for your employee-centric content output: have your employees write the occasional blog on working with your brand, give a unique set of insights on an event, or a training module. Their views will be much more likely to entice interest from potential candidates and keep the team spirit alive.
- Send out polls or surveys to give your employees an anonymous opportunity to express themselves. You can learn so much about what moves them and how you can strengthen employee advocacy over time.
- Workshops and training seminars you organize are also employee-centric content. In addition to mentorships and sponsorships, make sure you bring in industry experts and internal professionals to deliver sterling presentations.
Hear them out when hiring new staff
No business should stagnate, so employees expect you to bring in new staff from time to time. Do they actively contribute to that process? This is a wonderful opportunity for them to truly be advocates for your business when new talent is coming in.
To further strengthen your data-driven talent acquisition, use the data and knowledge your employees can offer you. Analyze their engagement levels, overall performance, but also interview them on potential ways to improve the workplace and make it more appealing for their future colleagues.
This kind of data combined with what you can extract from your various analytics tools can work wonders for hiring the perfect employees every time.
Create a painless collaboration environment
Can you really expect workers to recommend your brand to other professionals in their network if they feel miserable in your work environment? Setting up clear and transparent collaboration is the foundation for any other advocacy efforts.
- Leverage effective collaboration tools to make sure everyone’s on the right track.
- Ensure collaboration transparency so that people know exactly what your expectations are and what their responsibilities are.
- Make feedback part of your collaboration to encourage people to share their frustrations and work on them as a team.
What’s your take on employee advocacy?
Too many companies don’t give their employer branding a second thought. All they focus on is customer acquisition (and retention), while neglecting to build an internal sense of trust and belonging. There’s no need to drop your customer-facing efforts to do this.
All it takes is a strategy that will account both for what your brand needs from your target market, and what you can do internally to create a setting people will be happy to work in and work on. It’s a team effort, so make your employees part of the employer branding story.