How And Why Recognition Is The Key To Employee Advocacy?
"Recognition and Employee Advocacy" has been one of the most trending topics among the human resources community and marketing teams over the past few years for all the right reasons.
Employees hold an inherent influence and are considered as the "most credible voices" of a company. They know what’s going around and how it’ll affect everyone associated.
It is, for this reason, that building a robust employee advocacy program has become the need of the hour to amplify brand awareness. And delivering meaningful recognition at work is one of the key ways to ensure the same.
First, what is Employee Advocacy?
"Employee advocacy is a method used to promote a brand and its initiatives through people who work for it in an authentic and trusted way, mostly through social media or other digital channels."
The importance of advocacy is well reflected in this quote by Simon Sinek:
"Customers will never love a company until its employees love it first."
Suggested Article: Employee Advocacy: A Marketing Strategy You Need
Two Quick Stats to Back Up the Statement Above
A study conducted by Weber Shandwick reported that 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company.
If your employees love working at your company, talk about it, and promote it on various social media platforms, such organic promotion would look more credible publicly, whether it’s viewed by potential clients or job seekers.
Social Media Today reported that content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels.
Being social creatures we resonate more with what others have to say rather than what a brand might claim. The same applies to your employees too!
With everyone having a unique style of conveying their message, your employees become an influential resource for maximizing your brand outreach.
The question that now remains is how to make your employees feel good about their organization and motivate them to become its advocate?
The key to this could be hiding in recognizing your employees every time they do something good or go the extra mile.
Recognition is the Key to Employee Advocacy. How and Why?
Abhishek Ratna said,
"When an employee truly understands the meaning of his work and gets recognition for his efforts, he performs the best."
Employees get a sense of belonging when they are appreciated. It ignites their zeal to do even better and contribute holistically towards the growth of the organization. And that’s what makes rewards and recognition a prime driver of employee advocacy within the organization.
Let me explain it to you with an example scenario assuming Bob is one of your employees-
Bob is someone who works really hard and constantly helps his team members. For his dedication, he is frequently appreciated by both his seniors and peers. This acts as a morale booster for him and he constantly looks for ways to contribute more.
This is where the magic happens!
Now that Bob is emotionally connected to his organization, he doesn’t hesitate to go the extra mile to support it. Whenever there’s something new coming up, he is more than willing to say it loud to everyone he knows around.
Be it, someone who’s looking for a job or a prospect, Bob makes sure that he is able to attract the best for his organization.
All this was only possible because Bob was confident and satisfied with all the effort he has put. And he realized it every time he was recognized for the same.
Since now you know how delivering recognition positively impacts employee advocacy, I’m sure you could be thinking about these two things-
1. If I recognize all my employees they would all become my brand advocates
In certain cases, yes it might be possible if you have a small team as everyone would be definitely supporting each other to keep thriving. However, it would totally depend on the employees based on their communication preferences and personality traits.
For eg, an employee might not have any social media accounts or even if they have they might not be sharing anything there. The same goes for their personality, if anyone is an introvert, then they might not be expressing much about your brand openly.
2. I would ask my employees to promote our brand in return for the recognition they receive.
You can definitely ask your employees to promote your brand but you cannot force them to do so. The participation of your employees in advocating your brand must always be voluntary. Any misadventure here may cause more harm than good to your brand image.
So, always keep it organic and first try to know from your employees what they feel about the brand.
Initiating Employee Advocacy Through Recognition
Here, are a few meaningful ways through which you can usher better advocacy through recognition.
1. Thank your employees for their efforts and hard work
Thanking someone for the efforts and hard work that they put in for your work is the smallest but the most impactful gesture that you can make.
When an employee receives managerial or peer recognition, they know that they have done something really good. They feel elated and develop a growth mentality where they want to contribute more be it in any form to their organization’s success.
There are various ways of how you can thank your employees. You can send an appreciation letter, or a thank you mail. If you want to give personally then you can just go up to them and say your words of appreciation.
However, here the best way would be to go public with your appreciation like a special mention in your newsletters or an awesome post on social media.
2. Recognition from the C-Suite
C-suite refers to the executive-level managers within a company. Recognition from the top executives of a company can go a long way in showing employees their real value.
Further, it’s an incredibly powerful way of keeping them aligned with the organizational goals. It also conveys a positive image of the working environment.
Few benefits of employee recognition coming directly from business leaders are -
- Employees find incredible joy and satisfaction knowing their work is making a difference.
- It encourages employees to take up even greater responsibilities.
- Acts like a milestone and adds credibility to the employees’ career goals.
Note: Leadership and management must be on board with the initiative from the beginning to ensure that it happens.
3. Hand Out Awards Publicly
Handing out awards to your employees on a public forum formally appreciating success at work is a great move.
Celebrating the achievements of your employees gives them a sense of validation. Public commendation of employees is a great way to recognize hard work and a surefire method to create employee advocates. These events can help keep employees motivated to participate in work and employee advocacy.
If you already have annual award ceremonies, you can include additional awards for top employee advocates. You can hand out trophies, medals, or even personalized gifts as a token of appreciation and recognition.
4. Employee Perks and Rewards
Apart from thanking and handing out awards to your employees, facilitating various rewards and perks to your employees as a way of recognition also helps.
Everyone likes to receive rewards or small facilities and benefits in exchange for the time and effort for a company's growth.
Receiving rewards and perks motivates employees to share and promote it on social media, which initiates advocacy.
There are various cloud-based solutions through which rewards and perks can be facilitated to employees and Vantage Perks is one such great platform to start off with.
5. Help Employees Grow their Personal Brand
Last but not least, helping employees develop and advance their careers the way they want is also a way of recognition.
Apart from all the appreciation, rewards, perks, awards, etc., the most important thing that employees care about is growth, development, growing their personal brands on social media, and advancing their careers.
Recognizing these needs and letting employees post exclusive content, which allows them to become go-to resources for customers, will keep employees happy and engaged at work. Hence, further positively improving employee advocacy in the organization.
The Effect of Recognition on Employee Advocacy
The heart of any employee advocacy platform has always been the sharing of content. That will continue to be the foundation of your program and should be encouraged in your work culture.
What kind of content your employees share depends on your Employee Advocacy and your Employee Recognition program.
With an effective employee recognition program, your employees might use various social platforms to act as your advocates by:
- Post a thank you letter or mention in the newsletter that the employee received and show gratitude to your company
- Recognize a colleague for their help in a project or at work
- Talk about the reward that they got in exchange for their hard work
- Talk about how great it is to work at your company
- Talk about how an employee hard work and efforts are recognized at your company
And the list goes on.
Now, let me tell you this.
Employee advocacy applies to companies of all types and sizes. Social media is the latest frontier in business, and it's only just getting started.
In the bottom line, investing in a good employee advocacy program will create a better customer experience.