Three Ways to Prove that Employee Advocacy Works

Many executives and employees won’t fully understand your employee advocacy program. That’s why making the case for employee advocacy is more important than you think.

It is tempting to fall into a common pitfall: Making the assumption that everyone in the organization – from the top of the organization to the bottom – understands the benefits of employee advocacy at their company. But truth be told, those benefits are not immediately evident to many people. That’s why it’s every social business manager’s job to continuously show how employee advocacy is impacting the business.

Below, you’ll find three different ways to show employee advocacy’s impact.

1. Before You Launch: The Business Case Stage

Before you launch an employee advocacy program, you’ll want to build a business case. The form and substance of the case will vary from company to company. But generally speaking, you need to tie your program to things CMOs and other executives care about: brand awareness, operating efficiencies, cost savings, and revenue.

Since you haven’t launched your program, you’ll have to rely on industry stats to build your case. Here are a few resources that you can use:

Once you have approval for your program, start small, show early results, and then expand. But how do you show your results? That brings us to the next sections…

2. Data-Driven KPIs

Once you have a good baseline regarding what you are doing and why you want to engage in employee advocacy, you need to set KPIs. While there’s a wide range of possible KPIs, you might consider the following:

Two quick notes: First, when you’re deciding on metrics, remember that different metrics will matter to different people, at different stages of your program.

Let’s say that you’re the employee advocacy program manager, and you just launched your program. At this stage, you’re trying to figure out what’s working and what’s not working. There’s going to be some trial and error. So, you should be focused on tactical metrics – rather than revenue metrics.

Second, don’t assume that your stakeholders will immediately understand your KPIs. Once you have an agreed-upon set of metrics, circulate them widely, and as you do so, make sure that you explain why they matter.

3. Anecdotal Evidence

While we live in a data-driven world, there’s plenty of room for good storytelling. By putting names and faces to your program, you bring it to life for your stakeholders. Sometimes, you need a good story to win over a skeptical stakeholder.

As you craft these stories, answer the following questions:

  • What did your advocates do?
  • What effects did those actions have on the target audience (e.g. customers, potential hires, etc.)?
  • What positive impact did it have on your business?

If you’re looking for an example, check out Kim Babcock’s post. It explains how social interactions led to hiring a Director of Customer Engagement.

Whatever you do, don’t forget your audience. Not everyone cares about the same things. For example, if you’re talking to the sales team, they might feign interest in employer branding, but they will be keen to know how social helped break the ice with a prospect at a Fortune 100 company.

Want to Learn More about Employee Advocacy?

It’s your job to help your executives and other employee advocates understand your program – and why it matters. Use the three ideas above to rally support for advocacy. Good luck!

To learn more about employee advocacy, check out our ebook The Rise of the Employee Marketer.

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