How to Build Trust and Transparency in Your Employee Advocacy Program
November 16, 2017
There is a major push for openness and honesty in corporate culture right now, and it’s not hard to see why. Trust and transparency are not just desirable from an ethics perspective, they’re also good for the bottom line. A business just runs better when management and labor can freely exchange information.
Trust and transparency are even more important as foundational elements of a successful employee advocacy program. Your employees need to feel their social media efforts are supported by management. And they need to be informed about the company’s values, goals, and direction to be motivated to advocate, and to do it authentically.
To make your employee advocacy program a success, use these tips to promote trust and transparency in your program.
People tend to feel most comfortable when things are stable. It’s hard for anyone to get behind an initiative that’s constantly in flux. So think through all the ins and outs of your program before rolling it out. Once the program is in full force, try to minimize changes to process, guidelines and expectations.
Set a Positive Example
Rank-and-file employees will place more trust in the program when they see that it’s a priority for your executive team. Make sure you’ve secured full buy-in and support from your company’s leaders before launching your program. Recruit them to be your earliest champions and ongoing cheerleaders. Once your employees are engaged, regularly showcase the results of their efforts and remind them of the personal and professional benefits of their involvement.
You are expecting your employees to be authentic with their social networks and they expect the same of you. It’s almost inevitable that at some point you’ll be interacting with a disgruntled customer, partner, or even former employee via social media. If the complaint is related to a mistake or poor choice your company made, own it immediately and publicly. Seeing your organization take ownership for its missteps will go a long way toward your employees trusting in the brand.
Let Advocacy Happen Naturally
You can’t – and shouldn’t – force your employees to advocate on your company’s behalf. Do so and you’ll alienate them. Plus, you’ll undermine the very authenticity that makes your employees such powerful and effective brand ambassadors. A better approach is to educate employees on the value of advocacy, train them on your guidelines and tools, and encourage and acknowledge their participation and contributions on a regular basis.
Solicit (and Act on) Employee Feedback
While it’s important for your employees to see that the executive team is fully behind your program, you don’t want them to feel you’re just taking a top-down approach. By showing that you value their input and ideas, you’ll build more trust. To that end, actively and regularly request their feedback, put good ideas to use, and publicize how you’ve acted upon their suggestions. When employees feel heard by your organization, they’ll feel more positive and trusting about their relationship with the brand.
Trust lies at the heart of an effective and healthy relationship between your company and its employees. And transparency goes a long way toward building that trust. Make sure your employee advocacy program reflects the same principles that guide your organization, and you will be better equipped for success.
LinkedIn Elevate is the smarter employee advocacy solution that leverages LinkedIn data to maximize program success. Learn more about LinkedIn Elevate.