No one can tell a more honest story about your organization and its values than your employees. That’s why employee advocacy is such an important part of Recruitment Marketing today. After all, nobody knows you better than your employees – and it makes them one of the most powerful recruitment attractors (or detractors!) in the market today.
Let’s say you’ve put a ton of effort into shaping your organization’s EVP or building your employer brand. Ideally, you want your employees supporting this critical work by shouting it from the (digital) rooftops of their social media accounts. But how do you empower them to get involved?
At Booz Allen, we established “Get Social,” a fun and simple social media employee advocacy program. When we launched our program, the goal was to arm our employees with the necessary knowledge, tools, and incentives to share recruitment and company content about their culture and work experiences.
Now a year into building the program and seeing indisputably great results, we wanted to share some of the ingredients that make our secret sauce. Keep reading to learn why we’ve prioritized employee advocacy, the results we’ve seen to date, and the tactics we’ve used to get our program off the ground.
What’s employee advocacy?
Employee advocacy is the activities that employees do to advocate for your brand, products or services with their networks. This includes re-sharing, commenting on, or liking social media posts that your company publishes; producing and sharing their own employee-generated content; or leaving a positive review on an employer review site. There are so many employee advocacy software platforms that make employee advocacy activities easy and fun.
For the Booz Allen team, employee advocacy means encouraging employees to take an active role in telling our story. It humanizes the company and gives our employees a chance to be talent ambassadors and connect with their own networks.
Why is this approach effective?
- It’s more authentic — and believable. People read posts from those they know and trust. When an employee shares their experiences on their own social media account, it’s more genuine. Our employees are in effect endorsing the content they share, indicating that is authentic to their own experiences as well.
- It shares our EVP with the world. Our EVP runs through much of our messaging about Booz Allen — it’s our culture. Empowering your employees to speak for your brand makes your company more accessible, approachable, and authentic to candidates.
- It attracts new talent. Having employees post on their own social media accounts opens our brand to an entirely new talent pool that our company channels may have never reached. Our talented people know what it takes to be successful at Booz Allen, and so having the chance to connect with this talent means we’re able to strengthen our reach.
So far, Get Social has resulted in a 200% growth in social sharing among employees since the program roll out in July 2019.
Of course, an increase in sharing means little if there are no other concrete observable benefits or ROI. Fortunately, that hasn’t been the case with Get Social, which, together with Booz Allen’s LinkedIn outreach and dedicated career social channel @LifeatBooz, resulted in a year-over-year double digit hiring growth in 2019.
We’re also happy to report that Get Social has been adopted by employees from all levels of the organization. Our Vice President of Talent Acquisition, Patricia Porter, is the 25th most socially active employee out of nearly 27,000 firmwide employees! This enthusiasm from leadership has undoubtedly played a huge part in the adoption of the Get Social program for the rest of Booz Allen’s workforce.
However, as fun as it is to dwell on the program’s success like a proud parent, let’s get to the most important part: what the road to that success has looked like and 5 tips I’d share to help you launch and build your employee advocacy program.
5 ways to build an effective employee advocacy program
Over a year into our Get Social program, it’s clear that the following components are essential to building and maintaining our successful employee advocacy program:
1. Use the right tools
Our employee advocacy software platform has been instrumental to the success of our Get Social program. This platform allows our Social Media Manager to easily upload our ongoing Recruitment Marketing posts so that employees can easily find content to share to their social networks in just a few clicks.
2. Find ways to make it fun
It’s all about gamification. To make posting exciting, we added elements of game-playing and rewards to the process. We were able to leverage the leaderboard functionality within our employee advocacy platform and offer modest cash rewards for the top three performers each month. This put the fun in sharing!
3. Make sure you have quality content – and lots of it
Choosing to post company content on your social media feed can be a big decision for some employees. To encourage them to take the leap, make sure that you’re supplying quality content that they’ll actually want to share – content that makes them feel proud about working with your organization. You’ll also want to make sure you’re producing a healthy volume of content that can be shared regularly. If you’re only updating your content once a month, people won’t get in the habit of sharing on a regular basis.
Here are some examples of the content we encourage employees to share:
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4. Communicate clearly and transparently
When introducing employee advocacy and social sharing to your employees, you need to provide clear communications that emphasize the benefits of participating — what’s in it for them. We explain how getting involved on social is not only an opportunity for employees to help grow the organization, but also builds their own personal brands. It’s also important to clarify that you don’t expect all employees to jump into employee advocacy head-first. When presented as an option rather than a demand, people are more likely to experiment with it and give it a try.
5. Create a strong launch plan
We rolled out our Get Social program with target audiences that had a vested interest. Start with those who have the most to gain from the program’s success, like TA and hiring teams. From there, you can slowly roll it out to different teams with prioritized hiring needs and employee resource groups so that you have a diverse range of employee voices getting involved on social.
I hope that you find these tips helpful as you consider building an employee advocacy program at your organization. It’s a proven component of our overall Recruitment Marketing strategy and has had an incredible impact on our overall brand. I encourage you to research, plan and seek internal influencers to grow your program successfully.
Good luck, have fun and get social!