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Jul 09, 2024 Vineet Tandon

Building an Employee Advocacy Program in the Age of AI

Listen to this blog: Building an Employee Advocacy Program in the Age of AI

Imagine a world dominated by Artificial Intelligence. Content creation and marketing campaigns churned out with cold efficiency, devoid of the human element. I don’t subscribe to that future, especially when it comes to employee advocacy and employer branding.

As the Director of Global Talent Marketing at HCLTech, I’m deeply invested in the power of human connections. At Tribal Impact’s recent Social Business Exchange, I had the opportunity to share the story behind HCLTech’s journey to build a powerful and engaging employee advocacy program, drawing inspiration from both nature and martial arts.

Interestingly, Tribal Impact’s CEO and founder, Sarah, played a role in our early stages. Her podcast on Employee Advocacy was part of my starting search when we were developing this program and were on the drawing board. 

In this blog post, I will delve further into the inspiration behind the program and show you how the Lyrebird and Kungfu became the foundation of our success!

Building our Advocacy Program with Inspiration from the Lyrebird and Kungfu

Let me tell you about two rather unconventional sources of inspiration for our Supercharged Ambassador employee advocacy program: the Lyrebird and Kungfu.

The Lyrebird, this fascinating Australian songbird, is renowned for its incredible mimicking abilities. It can replicate an astonishing array of sounds, from other birds to even mechanical noises. Here at HCLTech, we have a wealth of "amazing stories" to tell, just like the Lyrebird's repertoire. But simply mimicking generic marketing messages wouldn't resonate with audiences. It wouldn't be authentic, and that's where Kungfu comes in.

Think of a Kungfu student meticulously honing their skills, tirelessly practicing to become a master. Similarly, our employee advocates need to continuously develop their ability to share HCLTech’s brand narrative effectively. It's not just about parroting pre-written content. It's about becoming storytellers, weaving their unique experiences and perspectives into the fabric of our brand message.

These seemingly disparate ideas—the Lyrebird’s mimicry and the Kungfu master’s dedication—merge into a powerful message: authenticity. Our program goes beyond simply broadcasting corporate messages. It empowers our employees to become brand champions, sharing their passion, experiences, and unique perspectives.

This authenticity truly resonates with audiences and positions HCLTech as a destination employer.

The Symbiotic Relationship: Human and AI Collaboration

While the human connection sits at the heart of HCLTech's employee advocacy program, technology plays a vital supporting role. We leverage a suite of tools like Oktopost and Grammarly to streamline program management, content creation, and social media analytics.

These tools free up valuable time and resources, allowing us to focus on the most important aspects – building relationships and fostering a thriving Supercharged Ambassador community.

However, it's important to remember that AI is a tool, not a replacement for human ingenuity. Our success hinges on the strategic blend of human and AI capabilities. Here's a breakdown of how we view this collaboration:

  • Strategy & Program Goals: This is a purely human domain. Defining the program's purpose, setting goals, and aligning them with broader employer branding objectives requires a deep understanding of the company culture, employee sentiment, and overall business strategy. In this domain, human expertise reigns supreme (100% Human,0% AI).
  • Human Connection and Relationships: Building trust and fostering a sense of community are fundamental to a successful employee advocacy program. This requires human connection, active listening, and open communication. Here too, the human touch takes precedence (95% Human, 5% AI).
  • Execution and Program Management: While human oversight remains crucial, AI tools excel at automating routine tasks such as scheduling posts, monitoring social media activity, and generating basic content reports. In this area, we leverage a healthy balance of human and AI capabilities (80% Human, 20% AI).

We're constantly evaluating new technologies to further enhance our program. However, the core principle remains the same – AI is a valuable tool to amplify human efforts, not replace them.

Building a Sustainable Employer Advocacy Program

Over the course of this journey, we've uncovered valuable insights that continue to guide the program's growth:

  • Focus on Value Creation: Our program isn't just about amplifying brand messages. We create value for our ambassadors by offering development opportunities, leadership interaction, and recognition programs. This fosters a sense of reciprocity and fuels long-term engagement.
  • Invest in People: Not everyone approaches social media advocacy in the same way. We provide comprehensive training sessions to equip our ambassadors with the skills and knowledge to become effective storytellers.
  • Celebrate Achievements: Recognition goes a long way in motivating ambassadors. Our tiered reward system acknowledges their contributions and keeps them engaged.
  • Embrace Continuous Improvement: The program is a living entity. We regularly assess advocate activity levels and identify areas for improvement. Phasing out low-engaged participants allows us to maintain a core group of highly motivated brand champions.

These learnings form the bedrock of our advocacy program. They remind us that building a successful employee advocacy program requires a human-centric approach that prioritises connection, value creation, and continuous improvement.

The Road Ahead: Expanding Our Advocacy Ecosystem

Our employee advocacy program at HCLTech is a testament to the power of human connection in the digital age. However, we're not resting on our laurels. 

Here's a glimpse into some exciting initiatives we're planning to further propel our program:

  • Increased Collaboration: We plan to collaborate more closely with various departments across the organisation. This will allow us to leverage the expertise of different teams and tailor advocacy efforts to support specific business goals.
  • Frequent Events & Meet-Ups: Maintaining advocate engagement requires a vibrant and dynamic program. We're committed to hosting regular events, meetups, and leadership interactions to keep the momentum going and foster a strong sense of community.
  • Leadership Engagement: Leadership plays a crucial role in inspiring and motivating employees. We'll continue to facilitate regular interactions between ambassadors and company leaders through Town Halls, press briefings, and dedicated sessions.

These initiatives underscore our commitment to continuously optimising our program and unlocking its full potential. 

We firmly believe that by empowering our employees as brand champions, fostering a collaborative ecosystem, and prioritising the human touch, we can further strengthen our employer brand and attract the best talent in the market.

Your Most Powerful Tool is Human Connection

Employee advocacy is a powerful tool for any organisation looking to amplify its brand message and attract top talent. If you're considering building your own program, remember to prioritise human connection, invest in your people, and empower them to share their authentic voices.

The results will speak for themselves.

If you’d like to learn more about building an effective employee advocacy program, I recommend speaking with the Tribal Impact team


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About Tribal Impact

Tribal Impact is a B2B Social Selling and Employee Branding Agency.

We're a team of social media strategists, trainers, coaches, content creators and data analysts who are passionate about helping our B2B customers develop and scale their social selling and employee advocacy programs.

Learn more about us here.

Published by Vineet Tandon July 9, 2024
Vineet Tandon