4 Talent Leaders Share How They Foster Employee Advocacy

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Talent leaders from Nurse Next Door, CA Technologies, HubSpot, and Sprout Social share insights on fostering employee advocacy on social media.

Worker using his mobile phone to practice employee advocacy and share his positive work experiences on social media.

Credit: Kate Serbin via Unsplash

If you’re like the average employer, you believe in the broad benefits of encouraging employee advocacy on social media and intend to launch a formal program to encourage it. But you’re not there yet.

A 2016 survey by Altimeter found that 90 percent of brands plan to implement an employee advocacy program, but 38 percent were still in the early testing phase and only 16 percent said they’d achieved strategic employee advocacy with strategic impact.

That’s too bad. Employee advocacy, whether for recruitment or to promote products or services, is powerful: MSLGroup reports that brand messages reach 561 percent further when shared by employees than when shared by official brand social channels.

To help blow a little wind in the sails of your employee advocacy program, we’ve rounded helpful insights from our archive of expert Q&As:

Brenda Rigney, VP Pink Ops at Nurse Next Door and talent leader experienced with employee advocacy programs.

Ask employees how they feel every day

“People want to know that what a company is saying about the employee experience is true. And who’s the best person to make that case? Actual employees. Potential candidates want to hear that ‘the boss is great,’ or ‘the environment here is really flexible,’ or ‘I get to do really cool things at work.’ That’s why people show up to their jobs day in and out: to work with great people and do great things. That’s the level of satisfaction that we want to be able to tap into. To do that, we need to ask employees how they feel every day. Otherwise, whatever we say about our employer branding is just corporate messaging.”

Brenda Rigney, the VP Pink Ops at Nurse Next Door, in “How To Let Employees Drive Your Employer Brand.”

Craig Fisher, head of employer brand and talent marketing at CA Technologies and talent leader experienced with employee advocacy programs.

Encourage your champions to share lots (& ask sometimes)

“If you want to attract people who are like your best people, then you want to say to those champions: ‘Hey, if you’re interested in sharing our company’s awesome culture, and trying to attract great people like yourself to our organization, here are some tools to help you do it.’ Encourage your employee champions to share interesting resources, workplace photos, and on-the-job stories in the places your prospective candidates live online. Occasionally their message should end with ‘oh, and by the way, we’re hiring.’ I recommend the five-to-one give-to-ask ratio: share or ‘give’ resources and content five times for every one time you make an ‘ask.’”

Craig Fisher, the head of employer brand and talent marketing at CA Technologies, in “Building An Effective Employee Referral Program.”

Jim Conti, director of talent at Sprout Social and talent leader experienced with employee advocacy programs.

Be targeted, offer incentives, & explain how advocacy helps

“We’re very intentional about not just blasting out jobs – we’re much more targeted. Using [employee advocacy application] Bambu, we target specific teams, we give context to what the role is, what information might be most relevant, and we suggest content and copy they can then modify to sound like their own voice. Also, at our company all-hands meetings, our talent team stands up, talks about roles that we’re hiring, and answers questions from employees. And then, of course, this all pairs with our referral bonus program. So it isn’t us shouting, ‘post this, post this, post this.’ It’s us saying, ‘you posting this job and getting this type of person in the door is going to do these things for the company, help us collectively get here as a team, and you get a referral bonus, too.’”

Jim Conti, the director of talent at Sprout Social, in “Social Recruiting When Social Is Your Business.”

Becky McCullough, the director of recruiting at HubSpot and talent leader experienced with employee advocacy programs.

Trust employees to “use good judgment”

“Whether we are asking for volunteers, or whether excited HubSpotters come to our team to ask if they can help with candidate cultivation, we are more than happy to oblige them. There are risks, but frankly, we think they are pretty small compared to the benefits of giving employees that spotlight. As a company, we really value the phrase ‘use good judgment.’ We don’t have a handbook, we have those three words. And so our employees know that they are brand ambassadors when we give them the keys – they know it reflects on them just as much as it does on HubSpot. So we really trust our employees, in that respect.”

Becky McCullough, the director of recruiting at HubSpot, in “Inbound Recruiting at HubSpot.”

Christian De Pape, Recruiting Social’s Head of Marketing and Content
About the author

Christian De Pape is the head of brand experience at Recruiting Social. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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