By Sinakho Dhlamini, Marketing Content Specialist, Top Employers Institute
By Sinakho Dhlamini, Marketing Content Specialist, Top Employers Institute

How Do Employees Understand Employee Advocacy

Happy Top Employers Day. Today is the first of our annual Top Employers Day celebrations and we are celebrating with our Top Employers. There are a number of things that Top Employers are doing to mark the occasion and most of their initiatives are centred around their employees.

Days where we put the focus on employees are important and for this year’s Top Employers Day we are zooming in on the role employee advocacy plays across the globe. We are aware that employees are the most valuable assets for any company. Companies that prioritise the wellbeing of their employees have seen higher productivity rates that inform a stronger company culture. If we are to see a company as a book then happy employees are as much contributing authors as they are characters in the storyline. The changing landscape of the way we communicate and share our ideas and stories is opening new chances for people to share their perspectives.

Employee advocacy has been one of the major ways that employees have been able to get involved in telling their organisation’s stories. The rise in employee advocacy through more formalised programmes and initiatives is reliant on employees. With this in mind, this article will explore how employees engage with and understand employee advocacy, while touching on some of the benefits they can see not only for their company but for themselves on an individual level. 

What is Employee Advocacy?

Employee advocacy, in a nutshell, is the promotion of an organisation by its staff members. This includes everyone in the company, from the senior leaders to the newer junior team members. This advocation can be as simple as posting about a work achievement to your Twitter page, sharing a photo from a work event on Instagram or even just sharing the latest post from the company blog to their LinkedIn feed.

The number of companies involved in more formalised employee advocacy efforts is growing as more companies see the benefits of prioritising this kind of communication. In one of our studies we saw that amongst our Top Employers most companies have senior leaders that proactively use social media to share insider stories that put a heavy emphasis on their organisation’s strengths to contribute to building an authentic and inspiring employer brand. Across Africa’s Top Employers we saw that this behaviour was seen in 79.2% of companies in 2021, in North America we saw this in 90.2% of Top Employers, while in the Asia-Pacific region the percentage was 90.1% and in Europe the figure came to 81.9%.

The numbers may vary across regions, for a number of reasons, but it’s clear that our Top Employers have used their senior leader’s behaviour as a model that their employees can seek inspiration from when engaging in their own employee advocacy activities. Employees seeing this behaviour gives them not only an example of what they can share with their networks but also encourages them to share their experiences in a public way.

When employees are involved in sharing their company’s values they can show an honest and transparent glimpse into the business. And even small attempts to promote employee advocacy can have a major impact on the business and their employees.

Benefits for Employers

People are more likely to trust the opinions of other people. They are more likely to trust word of mouth reviews from friends, trusted people and their family more than they are to trust a well-constructed advertising campaign. So, initially, it is easier to observe the benefits for the company when their employees are engaged in employee advocacy efforts. Some of the benefits for the company include:

  • A new way to build trust and credibility through established networks
  • An ability to show a more human side to the company
  • Extends the reach of content by increasing social presence
  • Creates a more authentic and natural way to showcase expertise within the business

Benefits for Employees

On this day, however, we are focused on what the benefits are for the employees who are participating in employee advocacy. The benefits for the employee are not as obvious as they are for the employers but there are is an abundance of benefits. We will not, in this article, go on an exhaustive dive into these benefits, we do want to give a bit of insight into the benefits for employees.

Sharing their knowledge and experiences in their company, especially when they share the results of their individual work can help employees to cultivate and build new networks of industry peers. People already use social media to create communities around more personal hobbies and this is similar to what can be achieved when people use platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter for professional purposes. The more that they share the knowledge and showcase their expertise the more likely they are to become thought leaders and experts in their industry.

The efforts they will make in expanding their social reach and presence will be beneficial to their company, as it shows that they hire and nurture an environment that supports their employees. It will also be beneficial to their employees as it also promotes them as an influential voice in their field.

When employees get involved in advocacy they also become more consciously aware of the direction that their company is working towards. This is because they become more familiar with what their company deems important and pertinent to share. This will come, especially, in the knowledge they will get by sharing their company’s content. It will also help to connect the employee to their organisation’s purpose beyond what is going on in the department that they work in.

Final Thoughts

The opportunities of employee advocacy can be seen in and out of the office. It seems simple to share or reshare a post but it can lead to more than most people believe. It can foster a number of benefits for the employee and their company. The opportunities are there for the taking.