Employee advocacy has several benefits for your organization’s human resources department, and your colleagues in HR will buy-in if you communicate these perks to them correctly.As a marketer, you’re interested in employee advocacy because you want to create more authentic engagement with your target audience, but your colleagues in HR are looking for different reasons to get involved. Employee advocacy has many benefits specific to them including employee retention. This is why your HR team will work with you and your marketing team on making your employee advocacy program as successful as possible.
“Marketing and HR need to become better friends,” said Ashley Mayhew, Communications & Media Lead at TD Bank, during a session at AMPlify 2017. “How can you partner with HR to help yourself? By working together…you can actually be really impactful.”
Ultimately, Marketing and HR want different outcomes, but they can work together on establishing the same employee advocacy program, and getting their employees to engage, to get those outcomes.
Benefits for HR
The reason employee advocacy works so well is that people trust other people more than they trust an advertisement or a brand.
If you have more employees sharing a message, it resonates with their followers better than it would if your company shared it. It’s a better way to get your brand’s HR story out there because people relate to employees better on a personal level than they do with a c-level executive or brand account, Mayhew said.
If your brand’s social account shared a job posting with a caption describing why this organization is a great place to work, you might be interested, but you also might be skeptical of the company calling itself a great place to work.
What is more believable is if someone you know or already follow posts that this organization is a great place to work. According to the Marketing Advisory Network, 44.5% of people say they are more likely to apply for a job they saw their friend post on social media than they would if they saw the same position on a job board. This is because you don’t have that skepticism towards a friend that you do towards an ad or brand account.
Obviously this is an example of employee advocacy helping HR with recruiting new candidates, but HR can promote other initiatives as well.
If your organization wins an award for being a great place to work, your employees should promote this accomplishment rather than your brand. By putting the employees who work for the brand at the center of the topic rather than the brand itself, it tells a much better story and resonates better with people interested in your company.
Helps with retention
When employees promote company messaging and initiatives, they tend to gain a better understanding of its mission and feel more connected to their organization. They know what’s going on in the company, they know how the organization works, where it’s trying to go and how it’s trying to get there. Because of this, they are less likely to leave their organization since they’ve grown a new attachment to it. This of course helps minimize turnover.
Employees can also build their own personal brand and develop a following in the industry they work in. They can connect with influencers, analysts, clients and prospects and gain credibility for their insights. By doing this, employees tend to become micro-influencers for their organizations. This leads to employees feeling more valuable and connected to their organization and more engaged in the industry they work in.
Your organization can invest in your employees brands and help them through training, Mayhew said. You can help them understand what their profile should look like, show them examples of good posts and bad posts, and how to engage with others.
“The more people you have engaged, the more people will be advocates for your brand,” Mayhew said. "It’s a huge opportunity to change your social reach, increase it, impact customer satisfaction, and on [marketing’s] end, we need people engaged to do great work.
Employee advocacy is statistically proven to increase retention, is more effective at telling a brand’s story, and is extremely useful at drawing in new applicants. For these reasons, HR will be more than willing to work with you in making your employee advocacy program as successful as possible. You just have to communicate these benefits to them.