Employee advocacy – how to encourage employees to become brand ambassadors? [podcast]

Employee advocacy is a relatively new concept in the market. However… What exactly is hidden under this slogan? Is it worth taking an interest in such activities? How do they affect the perception of the company by potential customers and employees? In our Talent Story podcast we had the opportunity to raise the issue and hear about the experience of Bartek Ziemiański from Sharebee. Read the post and learn the secrets of employee advocacy!

What is behind the term “employee advocacy”?

The term “employee advocacy” has been in the HR dictionary for a relatively short time. It influences companies’ employer branding and changes the concept somewhat. Why? In a way, brand building is done by relying on the personal brands (social media profiles) of its employees. This is nothing more than being a “company ambassador”.

Who is a “brand ambassador”? Who can become one?

“Your employees are your best social media ambassadors” – Bartek Ziemiański (Head of Social Selling Programs at Sharebee).

Anyone can become a brand ambassador. How? By sharing content published in their organization’s media, or by creating their own content, such as educational, informational, related to their hobbies, scientific interests or their work. And these are mostly unconscious actions. Participation in industry events, conferences, meetings, interviews, has a similar impact. An employee’s behavior in the media space is the company’s calling card. How we behave and what we write goes to future employees and potential customers of an organization – it affects their perception of an organization.

Why is employee advocacy important in creating an employer’s image?

Candidates looking for a potential employer not infrequently wonder what it’s like to work at a particular company. The message built around an organization, is created by the company and its employees. Potential candidates need a confrontation in the image created by the company on social media with what it looks like in reality. They wonder: “Are these benefits true? / Is it really possible to fly to workation in a company apartment? / Is remote work a fact of life?”. Therefore they are looking for alternative forms of information in the form of browsing employee profiles to learn as much as possible and build their own opinion about whether it’s worth taking part in the recruitment process or whether it’s not the place for them.

Is employee advocacy possible to promote in every organization?

Employee advocacy related activities will unfortunately not be possible to implement in every organization. First, some companies still do not or cannot communicate on social media, and neither do their employees. The second obstacle will be the lack of desire or motivation in the employee to post anything. In particular, this applies to workplace-related content. If the values of the employee and the company are not similar, and will even be contradictory, or the supervisors are not committed to the relationship with their team, we should not expect a positive message to emerge.

Social media has given everyone the opportunity to reach out to people who influence purchasing or employment decisions. Unfortunately, we are rarely properly prepared for this, and this can create image crises. Organizations should emphasize training in message creation or support for those interested in publishing content. This will eliminate the possibility of a tactless message appearing in employee communications.

How to engage employees to co-create employee advocacy?

The most important aspect in employee advocacy is that we can’t force anyone to publish or write well about the company. This never encourages any form of cooperation. This is the role of the PR department or PR manager, not the ambassador. Employees should want to naturally weave information about their place of employment into their publications. Let’s be authentic, we can offer employees to give at conferences and industry events – such events will surely boast on their social media channels. Another idea to increase engagement could be to offer to write a blog article and share it on the company’s profile. If you want to act, and you don’t have time to do it – commenting on the company’s publications or other creators is enough. Such an action takes two minutes and makes us present in social media.

What does the near future of employee advocacy look like?

Employee advocacy activities will become more common online over time. You can listen to a conversation expanding on this topic in episode “#8 On Linkedin and employee advocacy at ease” of our Talent Story podcast in which Talent Place recruiter – Malwina Perkowska spoke with Bartek Ziemiański – Head of Social Selling Programs at Sharebee. As you can see, this is another important opportunity to create and develop a positive corporate image, allowing you to get customers and attract talent to your team. It is worthwhile to take an interest in it and encourage employees to build their personal brands, as this will have a positive impact on the perception of the organization.

Patrycja Cieślik

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