4 Steps to Building an Employee Advocacy Program

August 8, 2016

We recently told you all about how employees can be your best recruiting and employer branding weapon. They're authentic, trustworthy, and well connected. In fact, on average, their connected to a population that is 10x larger than your organizations follower base on social media, making them a powerful way to build awareness of your company among new talent. 

And that is where employee advocacy - companies empowering employees to share content - comes in. With employee advocacy, companies suggest articles for employees to share. Sharing smart content helps employees build their professional reputations while simultaneously helping their company attract, recruit and hire talent. In fact, according to Altimeter and LinkedIn data, socially engaged companies are 58% more likely to attract top talent and 20% more likely to retain them.

While it may seem daunting to start an employee advocacy program, it actually boils down to four simple steps.

1. Define your employee advocacy goals

The first step is to set your goals and program strategy. Think about what you want to get out of the program, such as an increase in job views, or quality hires.

With these goals in mind, who is the right audience within the company for you to roll employee advocacy out to? If you are looking to attract more sales hires, include salespeople to tap into their networks. You can also use employee advocacy platforms like LinkedIn Elevate to identify your existing individual employee “social stars” as well as the departments with the most appetite for sharing. Seed the program with these social stars first, and once you have momentum going, scale strategically to other departments.

It’s also important to keep your audience in mind as you set your content strategy. We recommend a balance between company-related, industry-related and general content, such as leadership. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than 25% of your content be company-specific, as the goal is to drive engagement with employees and their networks, who have interests outside of what’s going on in your organization.

2. Explain the benefits to your employees

With your program strategy in place, it’s time to educate employees on what’s in it for them. Help them understand why building their professional reputation is important. You can let them know that sharing to their social networks not only helps them become known as thought leaders within their industry but also helps their organization attract quality talent.

You may find that there are varying levels of comfort with social media within your company. To make sure everyone is on the same page, hold Social Media 101 trainings, including how to build a top notch LinkedIn profile. Because not everyone may be used to sharing company-related content, it’s also helpful to clearly outline your social media guidelines to ease any worries.

3. Get your program up and running

You’ve set your goals and educated your employees on the benefits - now all that’s left to do is launch! Use your existing communication channels such as email, intranet postings, or a townhall or other event where you have a captive audience. Make it easy for employees by regularly suggesting new content for them to share.

Get leadership involved whenever you can. Include senior executives in communications and arm them with materials to share out with their groups, so that the call to action comes from these influencers within your company.

Your employee advocacy program doesn’t end once you’ve launched. Keep the momentum going with employees with regular reminders about the program and success you’re seeing, especially as you’re launching to new groups.

4. Measure your results

Remember those goals and KPIs you set at the beginning? It’s now time to track how your employee advocacy program is helping you succeed. You can see how much more engagement has gone up across your social media sites and send a survey to your organization to get a sense of how much more they are now sharing.

With an employee advocacy solution like LinkedIn Elevate, you can also get full visibility into who is sharing. LinkedIn Elevate also uniquely allows you to see downstream outcomes such as demographics of who you’ve engaged and the impact on new company followers and page views because of its integration with the LinkedIn platform. Best of all, you can see how your employees’ sharing has influenced job views, new company page followers and even hires.

As you can see implementing an employee advocacy program takes just a few steps, and reaps many rewards. 

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