Launching an employee advocacy programme takes a lot of effort, budget and most of all a lot of enthusiasm but really it is only the beginning of the story. As you begin to focus on running your programme long term, there are many issues you will come across which can threaten the success of your programme.
Let’s run through them!
If you're yet to start with Employee Advocacy, make sure to check out these top Tribal Impact blogs focused on launching a successful programme:
- 20 Must Have Guidelines For Employee Social Media
- 19 Employee Advocacy Tools Worth Checking Out
- 10 Content Categories To Kick Start Your Employee Advocacy Program
1) No Time
Employees are busy people. They have that meeting Monday, which causes a report to be due Tuesday. Then they finally start getting around to dealing with their emails and before they know it’s Thursday and they must prepare for that big event next month and Friday means end of week report. Meaning they didn’t get a moment to get a coffee cup, never mind time to open the Employee Advocacy platform to share some content. Somehow it always seems to be the last item on their list and it never gets to the top.
Finding the time is the biggest issue for many employees who want to get involved in the company employee advocacy programme. It’s why it’s so important to have two things, a routine and a habit. Both of which can be solved with a Coffee Cup Routine (Borrowed from Tribal Impact’s Coffee Cup Routine). The concept involves employees using their 10-minute morning coffee break to run through a quick list of employee advocacy focused tasks.
For example, each day they could do the following:
- Task 1: Check their Linkedin (and Twitter) feeds and engaged with their community
- Task 2: Locate x1 interesting industry article
- Task 3: Submit article to the employee advocacy programme
- Task 4: Locate an article within the platform and share back to their social platforms.
Making this a daily habit for employees, means large chunks of time are not required to remain active within the platform because it only takes the time to drink a cup of coffee. And with these specific actions employees will find over time their actions build up quickly and have positive effects.
2) The Content Factor
Content is only as good as the people behind it. This especially rings true within an employee advocacy programme. You can feed all the right accounts into your platform but without the right person behind it, it will fall flat. This is because content feeds need the human factor to take it from an advocacy platform to a community platform. The content in the platform is what makes a programme live or die. If the content your employees are coming across isn’t engaging enough, doesn’t appeal to their interests or simply looks bad. They won’t share it to their own platforms. And if you don’t have them sharing, they you don’t have an employee advocacy programme.
Ask your employees what they’re already reading, watching and listening to. Get that content into your platform. Make sure all the feeds you import look good. If you have content appearing in the feeds which is confusing or doesn’t catch the eye, your employees will stay on the safe side of the fence and mostly likely ignore it. Lastly make sure to have someone checking and monitoring your platform. That’s right you need someone who knows your business and its employees to get right in there and approving the good content. The feed needs to be relevant and look good to win over your employees.
3) Checked-Out Leaders
If the leaders aren’t regularly demonstrating how they are personally benefitting from the employee advocacy programme, how are any of the employees going to get the message. One of the most powerful tools in an employee advocacy's programme tool box is getting upper management on-board, as spokespeople. When employees don’t see their leaders getting involved or using the programme, they won’t feel like it’s important to them and if your leaders and management aren’t sparing the time, why would the employee?
Lead by example. Get your leaders in front of the programme. If your employees can see that their employers are all onboard, it changes the perspective of the whole programme. It becomes something they should be doing, rather than something they could do. It can be inspiring for employees to hear from their leaders, and employee advocacy programmes are a great place to get those stories told and create more connection between all levels of the company.
Employees are humans too, and even with the best intending employee can lose enthusiasm for something they originally signed up to. Often companies will find huge numbers of employees originally sign up to an employee advocacy programme and then find the employees simply lose interest. And most of the time it’s not because they don’t want to do it, rather they forget about it. It’s not a habit yet and therefore they need support to continue their interest.
Create a supportive network. Successful programmes will have a support team whose job it is to identify the issues above and solve them internally. This network will encourage the employees to keep checking back in. They will give them a reason to, by ensuring great content is available every time they log in. They will identify those users who aren’t logging in and find out what’s going on with them. They will get the companies leaders in front of the programme, shouting from the rooftops. They will take it from a programme and make it a community.
5) Social Media Training
Lastly employees often lack the right training. Once they’ve received the employee advocacy platform training (if there is one), they never develop any further. Which can be problematic when many employees lack knowledge about how to use social media correctly, or how to build their professional brand in the first place. If an employee doesn’t have any purpose behind their actions, any social sharing from the employee advocacy programme will never become the habit it needs to be.
When employees do have access to training to develop, many are unable to justify the learning time to themselves over their weekly work. And if they can’t justify it to themselves, it’s almost impossible for them to justify it to their management. Without training, employees won’t have purpose, and without employees with purpose, any employee advocacy programme will fail.
Provide access to social media and professional brand building training to all employees within the programme, and actively encouraged to complete it. Online training can be the perfect solution for this, allowed users to access it anytime, anywhere and learn at their own pace.
One way of doing this is to ensure all employees involved in taking the training must put aside time in the work week for learning and development, with accountability from management such as regular conversation to report back what the employee has been learning and how they might be able to use that new information in their job role.
A smoothly running Employee Advocacy Programme awaits...
If an employee advocacy programme can avoid these issues when running their employee advocacy programme, they are more likely to see success throughout the programme, which in turn will see more success for the company itself. It’s essential to remember employee advocacy programmes are not full of employees, they are full of people who need support, training, inspiration, and smart habits to thrive.
Tribal Impact specialises in offering employee advocacy training for employees, focusing on empowering employees to be safe online, build their own networks and learn how curate content. The Social Impact training program can be accessed online, through webinars or taken as a live workshop.