Sarah is CEO of Tribal impacta specialist company focused on activating employee voices and accelerating business impact on social media
As a CEO obsessed with feedback, I’ve long understood the value of the Net Promoter Score, a common metric for measuring the likelihood that a customer would recommend your company and services.
More recently, I notice that companies are developing this approach to measure the impact of the employee net promoter score (known as “eNPS”) and how likely it is that employees will recommend their employer as a place to work. But the connection between employee brand and employer brand is often overlooked.
Organizations have been managing their employer brand for a long time because the impact is known. Building a reputation as a trusted employer accelerates growth and lowers costs. For example, consider that:
• With a strong employer brand, you can reduce the cost per hire by 50% and cut sales by 28%, according to a report from LinkedIn.
• A negative reputation can cost a company at least 10% more per rent, the Harvard Business Review reported.
However, ‘managing’ the employer brand has become increasingly difficult. With transparent corporate review platforms such as Glassdoor, brands live in greenhouses. The employee experience isn’t just reflected in carefully crafted testimonials or highly polished video clips; it is told (whether good or bad) through raw and unfiltered stories shared by employees on social media.
In addition, the quit percentages at their highest level in recent years, meaning costs are rising exponentially for employers who need to attract, hire and onboard talent. This is a C-suite problem.
I recently introduced the eNPS score to our company to better align the way we measure our impact on customers with our impact on employees. Aligning the employee and customer experience is not new and the benefits have long been discussed.
A July 2021 IDC survey found that: 85% of respondents believe that “an improved employee experience and higher employee engagement translate into a better customer experience, higher customer satisfaction, and increased revenue for their organization.” Furthermore, Stephen R. Covey is known to have said, “Always treat your employees exactly the way you want them to treat your best customers.”
But the connection between employee brand and employer brand is often broken. It’s time to connect the dots between how your employees experience your brand (employee net promoter score) and how your employees talk about your brand (employee advocacy). Organizations can implement this as a standard for measuring employee engagement. As a quick indication, you can check your brand’s “Recommend to a Friend” rating on Glassdoor to better understand how your employees feel about recommending your organization as a place to work.
As the founder of a company that helps other brands empower their employees on social media, here are some key things I encourage you to consider when empowering your employees to become the authentic voice of your employer brand:
Remember, not all employees will be your advocates (and that’s okay).
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that all your employees want to share branded content on social media. They won’t. In my experience, a company with 10% to 20% of employees sharing on social media is a good measure. I’ve found that some organizations within the IT services industry see over 30% of their employees sharing content.
Focus on strengthening their brand, not the company’s brand.
A common mistake I see is when organizations assign topics and themes to socially active employees and expect them to become “influencers” on behalf of the brand. Realizing that advocacy is not about the brand voice, but raising the community voice of employees is the first step to experiencing the true value of employee advocacy.
Don’t expect too much, too soon.
Your employees will not go from social zero to social hero in a few weeks. It takes time to optimize their social media profiles, build a network and create a personal brand around their passion and purpose. Expecting employees to make videos and write 2,000-word blog posts will overwhelm them, so build a framework that simply encourages you to take the next step.
Map their learning journey to the starting point of their social media.
Every employee starts their social media learning journey from a different place; they learn at a different pace and consume knowledge in different ways. Also keep in mind that different roles have different goals. For example, activating leadership on social media affects the employer brand, while activating your sales force affects revenue goals.
Take cultural complexities into account.
If you overlay the complexity of different cultures, social media tools and languages, you will quickly understand that activating employees on social media is not a quick solution. Organizations all too often invest in employee advocacy tools with little or no regard for how they are managed, measured and supported. Start a program, not a tool.
Forward-thinking organizations are quickly realizing the impact their employees’ authentic voices can have on overall business growth. In my experience, potential benefits can include increasing brand reach, increasing customer trust, and increasing employee loyalty. Leaders need to be aware that employee advocacy is more than a tool. It’s about making the brand human, the voice of the employee at the same time.