What’s in it for Me? How to Inspire Sustainable Employee Advocacy

August 17, 2017

Carnival Midway at Night

When creating an employee advocacy program, it’s tempting to load up on the gamification. It can almost become like an arcade, or a carnival midway.

Step right up! Score points and claim your prize! Cover your workspace in stuffed animals and tchotchkes. Fill your wallet with gift cards!

A little external motivation to get the ball rolling is okay, of course. But if the entire program is built on these rewards, what you’re really saying is, “There’s nothing in this for you.” It’s a subconscious message, but one that is definitely transmitted and received. “We have to bribe you into doing this.”

That’s not a message that inspires long-term enthusiasm or commitment. And it’s not even true. There are a host of benefits for employees who become advocates on social media. Employees stand to gain just as much from your program as the business does.

When you kick off your program, make sure intrinsic motivation is part of the foundation. Share these proven benefits, and tell them, “Here’s what’s in it for you.”

1. Build Your Professional Reputation

Sharing content regularly helps you build visibility in the industry. The value in the content gets transferred to the person sharing it. Over time, you can build your own following, an audience that considers you a trustworthy source of quality insight.

Building that professional reputation and audience can open up amazing opportunities. You could be invited to speak at an industry conference. You could write a book. At the minimum, you can advance your career.

2. Continue Your Personal Development

With the right curation, participating in an employee advocacy program means access to a treasure trove of insightful content. You’re encouraged to read before posting, and to elicit comments and participate in conversation. That means it’s easier to be up-to-date on the latest discussion in the industry, and to have your voice be a meaningful part of the dialog.

3. Expand Your Network

When someone regularly shares insightful content, people tend to take notice. Your shares will get re-shared, along with your commentary, throughout other people’s networks. Over time, that translates into more profile views, more connection requests, and a bigger professional network.

In your expanded network you might find the mentor that can take your career to the next level. Or the key connection at that big account your boss has been dying to land. Or someone who can make a mutually beneficial introduction to upper management. There are dozens of ways expanding your network can enhance your career, and participating in this program will help.

4. Directly Influence the Bottom Line

It may seem strange to say that a benefit for employees is that you can help the business bring in more revenue. Of course, the more successful the business is, the more secure your position is and the more prospects you have for advancement. But the benefit doesn’t stop there.

When you participate in an employee advocacy program, every piece of content you share, every connection you make, every relationship you build for the company is tracked. You can see—and more importantly, management can see—exactly how you are contributing above and beyond to the success of the business. Your name could be directly associated with measurable increases in revenue. Which is a handy thing to have in your back pocket for your annual review.

Save the Prizes for the Midway

Employee enthusiasm is a make-or-break factor in an employee advocacy program. But you don’t have to become a carnival barker to keep people engaged. Make sure your employees know what’s in it for them—building a reputation, continuing professional development, creating a bigger network, and being a hero to the business—and you won’t have to break your gift card budget to make it work.

LinkedIn Elevate is the smarter employee advocacy solution built to optimize your program every step of the way. Learn more about LinkedIn Elevate.