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Want to Nail Internal Enterprise Communications? Start with Employee Advocacy

What does the internal communications landscape look like at your organization? I’m willing to bet you’ve spent substantial time and resources hiring and training the right people—they know what they’re doing, but do they know why they’re doing it? Are they invested in company initiatives? Do they engage in social sharing to promote the brand? There’s been a flood of millennials in the workforce in recent years—are you reaching (and keeping) them? In this digital, mobile world, effective employee communication in the enterprise takes more than a legacy system—it takes a winning employee experience, starting with advocacy. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Employee Advocacy?

Many companies view employee advocacy as a vehicle through which to promote social sharing, but let’s take the blinders off for a moment. It is true that the content your organization produces does need to be shared for it to add value, and your employees are a great conduit for that. However, that’s not the whole picture. A recent Altimeter Group report says there’s more to employee advocacy; There should also be a drive to increase brand understanding, educate and engage employees about the company mission, and to humanize the brand. The employee advocacy experts at PostBeyond agree, citing the problem today isn’t a lack of sharing but a trend toward disparate communications—i.e., a jumble of systems that make it unclear to employees where to get what they need and, at times, whether or not they’re even allowed to share it on their social networks. Take a look at Figure 1 below, showing all the places today’s employees can access information.

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Figure 1. Source: PostBeyond

That’s the problem, so what’s the answer? The solution is cohesive communication through employee advocacy—and it all starts with employee engagement.

Employee Engagement: Why it Matters and How to Do It

Employee engagement is the cornerstone to effective communication within an enterprise. Why? For starters, engaged employees stay longer and take more initiative than their non-engaged counterparts. A recent Gallup report indicates that 71 percent of millennials are not engaged or actively disengaged in the workplace. In addition, only half of millennials plan to be with their company in a year’s time. For a generation of employees expected to make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, this level of employee dissatisfaction translates into missed opportunities and costly turnover.

So how do you do it? First, think of how your employees—especially your millennial employees—are used to consuming information. They prefer content that’s mobile friendly, accessible anytime and anywhere, and in easily digestible (and highly sharable) formats like video and visuals. You can engage them by delivering the same experience they expect outside of work when it comes to your internal communications (see Figure 2 for an example). The result will be engaged employees more apt to participate willingly in social sharing—boosting not only employee satisfaction but brand awareness. Win-win.

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Figure 2. Source: PostBeyond

What to Look for in an Employee Advocacy Solution

If you’re searching for an employee advocacy solution, make sure to take into consideration the evolving communication needs of today’s workforce. Is the solution mobile-friendly? Can it act as an updated user interface to any legacy systems you currently have in place? What about cohesion—is content in one spot, and are the sharing rules easy to understand? PostBeyond suggests the proper solution should approach employee communication problems holistically, intending to improve not just the potential for social sharing but also the entire employee experience (see Figure 3).

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Figure 3. Source: PostBeyond

What’s Next?

It’s not a state secret that many enterprise organizations need to do better when it comes to employee advocacy. In fact, 45 percent of respondents to a recent Altimeter study reported employee advocacy as a top external objective. Collectively, we know that the corporate communications landscape is changing, thanks in large part to a highly digital, highly mobile millennial workforce. If you really want to get your point across in regards to sharing content and its importance in building the brand, you have to get on their level—make sharing convenient, measurable, and worth it. This isn’t just a millennial thing, either—employee advocacy is a part of doing business in today’s tech-savvy marketplace. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

To get the full scoop, check out this helpful eBook produced by our friends at PostBeyond. Read: Evolving Enterprise Communications for Today’s Millennial Mindset.