How to Create a Global Employee Advocacy Program

March 9, 2017

If your organization has established a successful employee advocacy program on a small scale, taking it global is the next step. You can expand the program across departments and regions to reach a new level of strategic sophistication. Thinking globally has its share of challenges, but the potential gains make it well worth the effort.

Here is a rundown of how global employee advocacy can benefit your organization, and how to go about taking your program worldwide.

The Benefits of Global Employee Advocacy

Along with the established benefits of advocacy on a local level, there are three major advantages a global program can realize:

  1. Uniting the organization. In a multi-region organization, employees can feel disconnected from their colleagues in other departments and geographies. Without face-to-face contact, it can be challenging to create a sense of community. A shared advocacy program 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 collectively have ten times the network compared to a company’s followers—the more employees you add across regions, the bigger that multiplier becomes.

  3. Automatically localizing messaging. Unlike marketing materials, employee shares are already localized for their target region. Your employees can speak to specific audiences in a more authentic voice, without the need for adaptation or translation.

Overcoming the Central Challenge to Global Employee Advocacy

Content curation can be a major challenge for a global employee advocacy program. Each region and department will need relevant pieces of non-promotional content to share. Keeping the pipeline full of interesting content that will compel sharing is crucial to your program’s success. It’s a challenge that scales as your program expands.

Address the content challenge with these steps:

  1. Create feeds of third-party content. Use RSS feeds and tools like Feedly to create customizable content streams.

  2. Pull in local social media feeds. For each region, subscribe to social media feeds that reliably share compelling content.

  3. Deputize 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 Program

The steps for creating a program are the same as launching a local program, just at scale. First, create goals for the program. Since you’re addressing a much larger potential audience, 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 program. 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 more effectively reach employees in each region and secure their buy-in.

Start Local, Go Global

The most effective tool you have for creating enthusiasm for a global initiative is a successful local program. Launch your local program first, let it generate results for your business and your participating employee’s brand, and use those results to stoke enthusiasm throughout your organization.

Scaling your employee advocacy program 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 program and maximize your success. Learn more about LinkedIn Elevate.