We’re all seeking that secret ingredient – the missing piece of the puzzle that will help build a great company and, ultimately, engaged employees.
But what if, in this scenario, the one 'ingredient' you’re missing wasn’t missing at all, but instead sitting right in front of you?
Your employees are not only key to your organization’s financial success, but they are also the missing link to generating advocacy and getting the word out about the great things your people (and your business) are accomplishing.
The first step in turning your employees into your advocates is understanding them, especially their values, goals and motivations. Surveying your employee population will provide insights into what makes them tick, and will help you to make informed decisions about recognition and engagement.
At Reward Gateway, employees place great value on charitable giving. As such, we focus on organizing regular volunteer events for our employees globally. Not only are our employees’ values aligned to these activities, we’re also revealing the culture and character of Reward Gateway in the process, and how we truly make the world a better place to work, outside of the confines of our offices. Employees partaking in volunteer activities will be simultaneously more engaged in their work and more willing to share how the organization meets their needs and values.
It’s a win-win-win.
Choose your promotion platform
It’s easy to rely solely on word of mouth, but you’ll need to explore and analyze other channels to gauge the best medium for your employees to talk about and promote your organization. Will they take to social media or Glassdoor? Will they use their time at a volunteer event to share your company’s culture, or perhaps make a speech at an event? Depending on whether your organization’s focus is on recruitment, employer branding or something else, you’ll want to have your advocates align the communication channel with your strategic goals. Consider hosting how-to’s or templates on your employee engagement solution for employees to easily access and provide more context on your organization’s goals.
Additionally, align your advocates with what they enjoy – some employees will feel more comfortable on social media like Facebook (our own Careers page is shown above), Instagram or LinkedIn, while others will relish the spotlight of a public speaking gig. Pay attention to what works for whom. And no matter the platform, it’s important that your champions focus on what your company’s good at. By focusing on strengths, your advocates are amplifying what’s going right at your organization – and that’s something everyone will want to be a part of.
Don’t overlook your “quiet” advocates
By now, you’ve identified the employees who will raise their hands again and again for opportunities to be a brand advocate. These are the employees who are first to sign up for a charitable giving event, those who ask the questions in Town Hall meetings about initiatives, and those who will be the first to shout about their love for your organisation to anyone who’ll listen. But how do you engage the quiet folks, who equally love your company, but aren’t as inclined to raise their hand to be an advocate? Here are a few ways to approach this:
Tap your champions to encourage the quieter individuals to join in. Sometimes introverts don’t take their share of the credit, as their nature tends to avoid the spotlight of success, and extroverts can help bring them into the light. Conversely, extroverts rely on introverts to help them reflect. Together, the two types can encourage each other to step outside their comfort zones. And for quiet employees, that means signing up to be an advocate.
Surveys are a great way to reach those who may not feel comfortable asking questions or providing feedback in a busy, public meeting. Anonymous surveys work well, but if you can ask for names and identify those quiet advocates from the results, you (or a champion you’ve tapped to help!) will be able to address them individually.
In focus groups, pinpoint the quiet individuals who you know have an opinion, and be sure to structure questions in a way that encourages and invites them to voice their ideas. A smaller focus group may work best to encourage all participants to speak up.
Now, to maintain that competitive edge…
Your EVP will evolve at the speed that your employees do — remember, you’re always looking for progress, not perfection. Keep a pulse on what makes your employees happy, deliver on those values, and you’ll be setting your organization up for success – from the inside, out.