I’ve spent the last two days at Quadriga’s Internal Communication conference in Berlin. Leading internal communications in a corporate team covering several European markets, it’s important to look beyond British borders at the good work being done elsewhere in Europe.
The conference theme was ‘Matching Employee Activism and Internal Digitalisation’ – or to put it more simply, how digital helps your people do things better. The conference programme gives you a flavour of what was covered.
I’m a long-standing fan of using digital to help employees respond and interact with their organisation’s leaders, news and information and each other – generally to help them work easier, faster and smarter. It was especially refreshing to see some clever and creative ways that companies are using digital to reach and engage remote workforces to improve customer service, reduce costs or foster a sense of belonging.
What became apparent is the idea of employee advocacy – using the power of your people to promote your organisation, usually via social media – is becoming more mainstream. Organisations are recognising that what employees say or share about who they work for is generally trusted more than the CEO or other execs, and are tapping into that to improve their corporate reputation.
It all sounds great, doesn’t it? An army of advocates happily liking, faving, re-tweeting and blogging on your behalf – saving you thousands in paid media and giving your trust and reputation scores a loving lift in the process.
But before anyone gets started in earnest, I think there are three things organisations need to consider:
Do your employees want to do this for you? Engaged employees are a prerequisite or you may end up the opposite effect. Tap into projects where people are more likely to support your approach. Starting small is a good way to build confidence in what’s still a relatively new concept.
Your content should sparkle. Are employees really going to want to share something that’s poorly written, designed or produced? Work closely with teams and functions who have an interest in seeing you succeed, like external comms and marketing, set your standards high and think like a consumer in the outside world –because ultimately, that’s what your employees are and who you’re trying to reach via them. It’s still vital to know your audience and understand what’s relevant to them.
If you can’t measure it, don’t do it. Arm yourself with data that demonstrates the reach and impact of what employees are sharing for you. Is it supporting the goals you’ve set out to achieve? Check frequently, adjust or even abandon if it’s not working as you intended.
Are you developing an employee advocacy programme in your organisation? What tips and tricks would you add? Let me know what you think.