How to scale an employee advocacy programme globally

If you’re boosting content effectiveness through local advocacy, it could be time to go global

May 2, 2017

The numbers don’t lie. Once you start to track the reach and engagement generated by an employee advocacy programme, it quickly becomes clear that even a relatively small number of employees can deliver dramatic increases in reach and engagement. However, that’s not to say that you have to settle for a relatively small number of employee advocates. Once you’ve established a successful employee advocacy programme, the next step is to scale it.

If your organisation operates in more than one country or region, then taking your employee advocacy programme global is one of the most effective ways to increase its impact. It will involve overcoming some challenges that are specific to global employee advocacy – but the benefits are well and truly worth it.

The Benefits of Global Employee Advocacy
You’ll already be aware of the multiple benefits that occur when employees share your content. There are three important ways that these benefits are multiplied when you take an employee advocacy programme global:

  1. Uniting the organisation
    The larger and more international your business, the easier it can be for employees to feel disconnected from colleagues in other geographies. Without face-to-face contact, it can be challenging to create a sense of community. A shared advocacy programme helps employees engage with each other, learning different perspectives and engaging with each other’s content.
  2. Reaching a wider audience
    Your global employees have connections in a wide variety of geographies, with far larger networks than your company’s brand reach. Our research shows that on average, employees’ combined networks are ten times the size of their company’s followers—the more employee advocates you add across regions, the bigger that multiplier becomes.
  3. Automatically localising your message
    There’s no better asset for localising your content than encouraging local employees to share it. Your employees can speak to specific audiences in a more authentic voice, without the need for adaptation or translation.

The challenges for global employee advocacy – and how to overcome them
Content curation can be a major challenge for a global employee advocacy programme. Employees in each region or country will need content to share that feels relevant to that market. The challenge of ensuring a pipeline of relevant content scales as your programme expands – and it’s probably the single most significant factor holding global businesses back from using their full networks of employees to amplify content.

You can address the content challenge for global employee advocacy with these steps:

  1. Create feeds of third-party content. Use RSS feeds and tools like Feedly, to create customisable content streams that are relevant to employees and their contacts in a particular region.
  2. Pull in local social media feeds. For each region, subscribe to social media feeds that reliably share compelling content.
  3. Deputise global curators. Ask for volunteers for curators in each region who can take charge of the content pipeline.
  4. Use a platform with curation built in. LinkedIn Elevate is designed as a global enterprise-level employee advocacy platform. It provides a variety of solutions for curation and can source content directly from what is already popular on LinkedIn.

Best Practices for Scaling a Global Employee Advocacy Programme
The steps for creating a global programme are the same as launching a local programme, just at scale. First, create goals for the programme. Since you’re addressing a much larger potential audience, your goals and KPIs can be more ambitious.

Next, develop a content strategy. With more employees and more cultural differences to attend to, your strategy may need to cover more topics and address sourcing content in multiple languages.

Finally, gather content for employees to share. As previously stated, you may need multiple content curators to address the content pipeline.

Most importantly, work with local leaders to manage your programme. Each region will have different platforms and approaches to communication; for example, the UK office might prefer internal communication via email, while your Brazil team is most responsive on a group chat tool. Work with local managers to reach employees more effectively in each region and secure their buy-in.

Start Local, Go Global
The chances are you already have the most valuable asset for creating enthusiasm for global employee advocacy: a successful local programme. Once this is generating results for your business and your participating employees’ brands, use those results to stoke enthusiasm throughout your organisation.

Scaling your employee advocacy programme can be challenging. But the end results are worth the effort. A greater sense of community between employees, more authentic brand messaging, and a dramatically extended reach are all compelling reasons to go global.

LinkedIn Elevate is a platform that leverages LinkedIn data to help you create a sustainable global employee advocacy programme and maximize your success. Learn more about LinkedIn Elevate.