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Want More Productive Employees? Research Reveals that Managers Matter Most

Gallup has released compelling evidence that the most important factor for employee engagement and productivity can be summed up in one simple word: managers.

In fact, writes Sam Walker in The Wall Street Journal, after a decade of data from nearly 2 million employees, Gallup has proven that managers don’t just have a small influence on productivity; “they explained a full 70% of the variance. In other words, if it’s a superior team you’re after, hiring the right manager is nearly three-fourths of the battle.”

Good news, maybe, unless your organization has spent the last decade or so making it more difficult for managers to succeed–eliminating managers’ positions, making managers responsible for producing more work (instead of just leading people), cutting back on learning and/or promoting based on people’s expertise instead of their ability to lead team members.

There is so much you can do to address these issues; for example, read Justin Bariso’s piece on how Google identified core people-leading behaviors and then trained managers on how to develop those behaviors.

But I suggest you start by helping managers develop one core competency: the ability to communicate effectively with team members. In fact, out of the 10 attributes Google targets, seven are based on communication skills: is a good coach, empowers people, creates an inclusive team environment, listens and shares information, supports career development by discussing performance, has a clear/vision strategy for the team and collaborates across the company.

Despite the importance of communication, managers are often poorly prepared for their role as key communicator. They may not have the skills, the knowledge or the confidence to communicate effectively. And many managers think of communication as “something else I have to do” rather than an integral part of their job.

What should companies do to set managers up for success? Take these 5 steps:

1. Make sure you clearly articulate communication roles. Be specific about what and how leaders communicate–and what you expect managers to share. Ask your HR manager to include communication into managers’ job descriptions so the expectation is baked into their role.

Of all the skills managers need, effective communication is perhaps the hardest to improve. This is because communication isn’t a single skill. It’s actually a complex set of skills that build upon one another. Through my firm’s work with managers, we’ve identified these skills–25 in total–and organized them into a hierarchy of skill groups, starting with foundational skills and building to more advanced skills.

2. Hold managers accountable for engaging their team members by providing reinforcement in performance management and pay.  You know the problem: Unless communication is part of the formula to give managers raises or bonuses, it won’t be a priority. So make communicating essential to managers’ success.

3. Invest time in making sure managers understand content. Especially if the topic is complex, a 20-minute presentation is not enough to make managers comfortable. To design sessions that give managers the confidence they need to present, try the following:

  • When planning to brief managers, allocate at least 90 minutes for the meeting.
  • If possible, get everyone together face to face. If your office is too distracting, consider taking managers off site.
  • Of course you’ll present content, but presentations should be the shortest part of the meeting. Allow at least 50 percent of the time for questions and dialogue.

4. Create tools to help managers share information. You might consider:

  • A very short PowerPoint presentation. Managers won’t give a detailed presentation, but they will use a short (5-8 slides) PPT to share highlights at staff meetings and during one-on-one discussions.
  • A one-page guide that makes it easy for managers to have everything they need. This guide that contains all essential information: what is changing, when, why and how.
  • FAQs. Compile Frequently Asked Questions in a document that provides the questions employees are likely to ask, along with the answers managers need. The key is to include the toughest questions so managers are ready any time team members approach them with a question.

5. Develop a microsite or a social network group
It’s the perfect place to house resources and build skills. Make it social by including discussion threads, so colleagues can share challenges and solutions. Provide access to on-demand learning that can be accessed quickly when faced with a challenge.

Once you start providing managers with support, ask for feedback to determine which methods have the greatest impact.

By: Alison Davis

Source: Want More Productive Employees? Research Reveals that Managers Matter Most

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Why Companies Should Let Employees Work Remotely And Travel More

Caroline Pinal is the Cofounder of Giveback Homes.

“While working remotely and employee volunteer programs are both on the rise, there are still many companies and leaders that haven’t realized the value of letting your employees commute less and travel more, especially for social good,” says Caroline Pinal, the cofounder of Giveback Homes. The social good real estate company has built hundreds of homes for people in need across the U.S., in Puerto Rico, Nicaragua and Mexico.

Through Giveback Homes, Pinal works with real estate agents and brokerages across the country to provide them with impactful volunteer opportunities and projects to donate to and support. The company also offers its community with marketing and communication tools to help share their philanthropic endeavors with their clients, friends and family. “My favorite part of the gig is leading a group of realtors to Nicaragua to help build homes for families in need,” Pinal says. “We do it once or twice a year and it’s always so cool to see people experience that for the first time.”

Like many people, Pinal always had it in her heart to travel abroad and do good in the world, but she didn’t have the resources, funds, or time off to make it happen. It was just something she dreamed of doing “someday” when she was older and more established. And then she found a job at TOMS. The company, which pioneered the “buy one, give one” business model with its shoes, sent Pinal on a giving trip to El Salvador where she helped distribute shoes to children in need. “I look back on that experience and think how incredible that my job not just encouraged, but provided that opportunity to travel and give back to me and every employee? And why is that so still rare?”

During that time, Pinal also met her now best friend, Blake Andrews, who worked at TOMS with her. A few years later, the two had the idea of applying the TOMS model to the real estate world, and together they founded Giveback Homes. Part of their business model involves giving employees the opportunity to work remotely and travel, which she feels is her life purpose. “We take realtors from all over the country on social impact experiences. We’re building homes, getting people out of their comfort zones, and connecting them with people from other countries in a way that will impact them forever and inspire them to do more,” Pinal explains.

“It’s obviously standard for companies to give vacation days or paid time off, but most people (understandably) use that time for vacation,” Pinal says. “What if in addition to vacation, companies offered paid opportunities to travel and volunteer abroad? Salesforce, Timberland, Patagonia, and IBM are among the companies that currently offer paid volunteer abroad opportunities to their employees. What if every Fortune 500 company – and even smaller companies like TOMS – did the same? Imagine the impact that would have on the countries and people they’d be helping around the world and in the lives of the employees.”

Pinal offers these reasons why more companies should offer their employees paid opportunities to volunteer and more flexibility in their everyday work:

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

MeiMei Fox is a New York Times bestselling author, coauthor and ghostwriter of over a dozen non-fiction books and hundreds of articles for publications including Huffington Post, Self, Stanford magazine, and MindBodyGreen. She specializes in health, psychology, self-help and finding your life purpose. Fox graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors and distinction from Stanford University with an MA and BA in psychology. She has worked as a life coach since 2009, assisting clients in developing careers that have meaning and impact. At present, she lives in Paris, France with her twin boys and the love of her life, husband Kiran Ramchandran. Follow @MeiMeiFox

Source: Why Companies Should Let Employees Work Remotely And Travel More

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Billionaire’s Secret Buyout Formula: 110 Instructions and an Intelligence Test – Miriam Gottfried & Laura Cooper

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Billionaire investor Robert Smith believes corporate buyouts can be reduced to a formula. His private-equity firm, Vista Equity Partners, has codified that notion into 110 acronym-heavy directives known as Vista Best Practices. They are secret—stored on a company server that makes a record every time anyone downloads or prints them. Target companies must have “critical factors for success,” or CFS, within their control. Employees of acquired companies and candidates for hiring must submit to tests. A personality test aims to determine which of them are suited to which jobs. Salespeople are better off being extroverted, and software developers more introverted………

Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/billionaires-secret-buyout-formula-110-instructions-and-an-intelligence-test-1531151197?mod=djmc_pkt_ff&tier_1=21662325&tier_2=dcm&tier_3=21662325&tier_4=0&tier_5=4508749

 

 

 

 

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Making Your Voice Heard at Work – Caroline Fairchild

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Last Thursday while I was sitting at my desk in downtown San Francisco, the sounds of protest filled my ears. Down the street in multiple directions, Marriott employees staged protests to fight for a living wage. And closer to the water at the Ferry Building, Bay Area Google employees joined their colleagues around the globe in walkouts over the company’s alleged protection of sexual harassers. Walkouts and demonstrations by both Google and Marriott employees come down to one central goal: Making your voice heard. Whether it’s over something big like executive action ……….

Read more: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/making-your-voice-heard-work-caroline-fairchild/

9 Things That Make Good Employees Quit – Travis Bradberry

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It’s pretty incredible how often you hear managers complaining about their best employees leaving, and they really do have something to complain about—few things are as costly and disruptive as good people walking out the door. Managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun, while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers. The sad thing is that this can easily be avoided. All that’s required is a new perspective and some extra effort on the manager’s part……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/02/23/9-things-that-make-good-employees-quit/#b9248d81b839

More ref: https://youtu.be/KASPyVCJyog

 

 

 

 

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Why Investing In Your Employees Is The Future of Work – Drew Holler

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As we look toward the future of work, it’s becoming more important than ever for companies to understand the needs of their teams, and to build solutions and products to help serve them—whether that’s through training, healthcare, or other investments. At Walmart, we’ve been very deliberate about investing in our associates, particularly over the past three years as we’ve thought about new ways to improve their lives and careers. Education is the latest iteration of that commitment. Between historically low unemployment rates in the US and innovative technologies reshaping jobs, all businesses have a lot of work to do—both in terms of recruiting and upskilling  ……..

Read more: https://qz.com/1410509/why-investing-in-your-employees-is-the-future-of-work/?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=firefox_placement

 

 

 

 

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The Biggest Roadblock To Improving Employee Well-Being – Alan Kohll

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Employee well-being can’t thrive without a supportive culture. Why? Because a company’s culture sets the foundation for employee health, happiness and success. While a company might have a workplace wellness program in place, if they don’t have a supportive corporate culture, many employees won’t utilize the program or benefit from it.According to Virgin Pulse’s fourth-annual State of the Industry survey of over 1,000 HR leaders, workplace culture is the biggest roadblock to improving employee well-being and engagement…..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2018/09/18/the-biggest-roadblock-to-improving-employee-well-being/#6cd592aee0d3

 

 

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How Bosses Waste Their Employees’ Time – Robert I. Sutton

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The Bosses don’t mean to waste their employees’ time. Unfortunately, many of them heap unnecessary work on the people below them in the pecking order—and are downright clueless that they’re doing it. They give orders without realizing how much work those directives entail. They make offhand comments and don’t consider that their employees may interpret them as commands. And they solicit opinions without realizing that people will bend over backward to tell them what they want to hear—rather than the whole truth, warts and all…..

Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-bosses-waste-their-employees-time-1534126140?mod=djmc_pkt_ff&tier_1=21662325&tier_2=dcm&tier_3=21662325&tier_4=0&tier_5=4508749

 

 

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What Employers And Employees Need To Know Today About Raises – Kathy Caprino

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During my 18-year corporate career in marketing, research and product management, I felt that raises were an important way that the leadership at my organizations demonstrated their recognition for what I contributed in my role and in the enterprise as a whole. Interestingly, the conversations that took place leading up to the actual raise or promotion were at least as impactful as the raise itself.

If I found that my manager communicated effectively both praise and constructive, thoughtful feedback and indicated an understanding of how I personally contributed to the team, those interchanges helped build trust, loyalty and commitment, often as much (if not more) than the additional money in my paycheck. But if the conversations around raises and promotions weren’t clear, honest and supportive, inevitably I’d feel less positive and engaged in my role.

Turns out, this is an extremely common experience. In working now as a career and executive coach with professionals around the world, I’ve heard from thousands of people about their deep challenges in trying to figure out how to ask for a raise, the best way to build a case for it, and how to deal with their disillusionment when they didn’t receive the raise they believed they deserved.

To learn more about how employers and employees should approach handling raises, I was excited to catch up this week with Lydia Frank, who is vice president of content strategy for PayScale, the leading compensation data and software provider, helping employees and employers understand market pay and have more open and mutually beneficial conversations about compensation.

The recent PayScale Raise Anatomy study examines which workers are asking for raises, which workers are receiving them, what is preventing certain workers from asking and how the raise conversation – whether the outcome is positive or negative – can impact employee engagement and retention.

Here’s what Frank shares:

Kathy Caprino: Why did PayScale feel it was important do this research into pay raises now?

Lydia Frank: We’re in an extremely tight job market currently in the U.S. with unemployment under 4%, and oddly, wages have not grown to the degree that we’ve seen historically when similar positive conditions have been in place in terms of the economy and labor market.

And, while 59% of employers are saying that talent retention is a major concern, according to the results of PayScale’s most recent Compensation Best Practices survey, most organizations are not addressing that concern with higher base pay increases. This places more burden on individual employees to proactively manage their own earning potential by asking for raises and making a solid business case for more than the standard 3%.

We also knew from past studies that a good portion of employees don’t proactively ask for raises. We know that wage gaps do exist for women and people of color. So, we wanted to really understand the dynamics at play and provide guidance for both employees and employers to ensure that every worker has equal opportunity to make a fair wage for the work they’re doing.

Caprino: What were the most interesting findings? Were these surprising to you?

Frank: Only 37% of workers have ever asked for a raise from their current employer, which is lower than I’d expect with it being an employee’s job market right now, but of those who did ask, 70% received some type of raise, even if it wasn’t for as much as they requested. It’s a good reminder for employees that the outcome of a raise conversation has a high likelihood of being favorable for you.

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However, not every employee has the same chance for that positive outcome. We saw no difference by gender or race in terms of who says they have asked their current employer for a raise. We did find, though, that people of color are far less likely to receive a raise when they ask for one than their white male peers (women of color are 19% less likely and men of color are 25% less likely).

There was weak evidence showing that white women may be receiving raises less often, but the findings were not statistically significant. We controlled for job title, job level, experience, geography, industry, etc. so we could really isolate the effect that the gender and race of the employee might be having on raise decisions. This runs counter to a common narrative, especially in the tech industry, around the workplace being a meritocracy. This may not feel like a surprising finding to many, but there’s a difference between suspecting something is true and knowing it for sure.

Another key finding in this report is that how the raise conversation unfolds can have a critical impact on employee engagement and retention. It really comes down to how much employees trust the organization and their managers. If an employee is denied a raise, 33% are provided no rationale for the denial.

Of those who do receive some type of rationale, only 23% of employees believe it. If they don’t believe it, their satisfaction with the employer takes a serious hit, and they are far more likely to be seeking a new job in the next six months. What was interesting, however, is that when employees did believe the rationale when denied a raise, they had similar levels of employer satisfaction as employees who received a raise.

They were also much more likely to stay with the organization than employees who received no rationale or didn’t believe the one they were given. For employers, the takeaway here is that you don’t necessarily have to grant every raise request to retain your best employees, but you do have to ensure they understand how compensation decisions are made and feel fairly treated. Treating employees fairly isn’t necessarily the same as them feeling fairly treated, so communication strategy around pay is important to get right as well.

Caprino: Why do you think people of color are more often denied a raise when they ask than white men?

Frank: With more than 160,000 survey respondents for this most recent PayScale study, we can say with certainty that there is clear bias at work in pay raise decisions in the workplace – whether unconscious or overt. Unconscious bias has been something employers have been trying to combat for a while, from hiring practices to organizational culture. I think this is just more evidence that it is difficult to eradicate bias when people are involved. We all have biases, whether we’re aware of them or not.

Caprino: I noticed that women cite being uncomfortable negotiating as a reason for not requesting a raise far more often than men. What can be done to ensure women feel more comfortable initiating pay negotiations?

Frank: Yes, 26% of women cite being uncomfortable negotiating as their reason for not asking for a raise vs. 17% of men, while men are slightly more likely than women to say they didn’t ask because they received a raise before needing to or they’ve always been happy with their compensation.

There are systemic issues at work that chip away at women’s confidence levels. For example, based on research from linguist and Textio founder and CEO Kieran Snyder, not only do women receive more criticism in their performance reviews, it’s less constructive and more personal. In Snyder’s analysis, she found that character critiques – words like “abrasive” – showed up in 71 of the 94 critical reviews received by women and was completely absent from reviews received by men.

There’s also research on unconscious bias showing that women pay a social cost in the workplace for initiating negotiations. Essentially, we as a society are conditioned to have different expectations of how women and men behave, and when our expectations are not met, it creates cognitive dissonance. We don’t like it. In many ways, I think the fact that some women feel uncomfortable initiating negotiations is a learned behavior. If you do it and don’t get a positive outcome, you’re more hesitant to try again. Unfortunately, women are more likely to be met with resistance.

Alternatively, there’s newer research from Boston Consulting Group showing that ambition levels in women are impacted significantly by how progressive their workplace is in terms of gender equity.

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The key is to fix the systemic issues. Employers can ensure they’re digging into workforce analytics to understand the obstacles to advancement women are facing within their organization, whether that applies to pay or promotion. They can also proactively address underrepresentation of women in leadership. Take a look at your board of directors, your executive team and your most senior managers. Are you demonstrating that women are valued members of the organization?

Caprino: What can employers do to ensure every employee is given equitable consideration when requesting a raise?

Frank: When compensation decisions are data driven and there is clarity around what’s required to advance within your pay range, there is less opportunity for pay inequities to emerge. I’d encourage employers to think about setting up a process for how all raise requests are treated. If there are multiple checkpoints and transparency around the process, one person’s bias is less likely to impact the final outcome of an employee’s raise request.

Caprino: Asking for a raise can be scary for most employees. What guidance do you have for anyone thinking about asking for one?

Frank: Again, I’d point to the data point that of those who ask, 70% receive some kind of raise, with 39% getting exactly what they asked for and another 31% receiving a smaller raise than requested.

The key for employees is to be data driven in your approach to the raise conversation as well. Ensure you’ve done your homework and know what the market is paying for roles like yours. PayScale has a free employee compensation survey, for example, at www.payscale.com, where you can receive a precise pay range that takes your background and skills, the talent market you’re competing in and the job role into account.

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How to Activate Employees and Harness the Power of Internal Experts – Michael Brenner

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Here’s a strategy brands such as IBM and Starbucks have been using for years to bolster their marketing reach and their revenue – employee activation.

By harnessing the potential of the people who know your brand better than even your most devoted customers, you can tap into a rich source of brand advocacy and fuel growth.At the same time, you’ll boost employee engagement.

Engaged employees have a vested interest in your organization’s success.  They are aligned with your messaging and vision. And they offer something much more important than greater productivity.

A positive employee attitude can engage your customers as well. Look at it this way. As many as 68 percent of customers abandon a brand as a direct response to poor employee attitude.

The bulk of customer brand perception – about 70 percent – doesn’t depend on the ingenuity of your video marketing strategy or the quality of your products – it’s human interaction with customer service representatives, your employees at in-person events, email and live chat responses, and the content your employees are sharing about your brand.

When your employees do share your company’s content – something that’s not likely to happen without motivation, only about 3 percent of employees share company-related content – you are looking at a healthy boost of customer engagement.

This positive impact is exponential. When you can motivate 6 percent of your employees to share content, customer engagement increases by 60 percent. With 10 percent active employees, you’re looking at the potential for a 100 percent increase.

The bottom line is, the experiences customers have with your employees shape the impression of your brand more than anything else.

On the other hand, when you fail to activate your employees, you’ve effectively created a financial black hole for your organization. Disengaged employees cost businesses from $450 to $550 billion each year.

So, how can you activate your employees?

The key is in understanding what employee activation truly means. Hint: it’s much more than offering a carrot.

When you look at examples of excellent employee advocacy programs in action, you’ll see that it’s more than a few tweaks to your organizational processes and internal communications. It’s a shift. A transformation that’s going to take time and conscious effort, but one that you can fully achieve with the help of a few tools, tips and strategies to help you activate your internal experts.

Let’s get started.

What Does Employee Activation Involve?

Employee activation is all about motivating your employees to share content with their social networks. We already know that word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective techniques for generating leads and boosting sales.

Employee activation takes this one step further, tapping into your employees to expand the reach of your brand. Just how much of a difference will this make? It can potentially have a seismic effect. This is because, for the typical business, the social networks of employees are 10 times the size of the social following of the company itself.

“When you can activate your entire company to be brand ambassadors, the full effects of social selling can be felt globally.”

-Koka Sexton, Sr. Social Marketing Manager formerly of LinkedIn and Hootsuite

Being able to activate your employees offers more benefits than a wider social media net for your brand to reach out to. Way more.

Your organization will experience a cascading positive effect because as you put in the effort to activate your employees through training, supporting, mentoring, and mobilizing, you’re also aligning their work with the purpose and mission of the business. You’re making their job more meaningful.

This isn’t just a shiny ideal. Purpose is what makes getting out of bed in the morning to come to work appealing. And it’s something consistently profitable companies have been focusing on for years – take Southwest Airlines for example.

They focus on both company culture and customer service and make a point of recognizing employees regularly on their website, their brand magazine, and they have a library of videos sharing stories form real customers who appreciated the experience they’ve had with the brand.

Taken further, active employees have a lot to gain. When they share their insights, expertise and vision, they are building their own personal brand, which can support their careers in the long run.

“If you help brand your people, they will help brand your company.”

Jennifer Jones Newbill, Dell

86 percent of those who have been a part of a social media advocacy program for their job have said it has had a positive impact on their career.

You’ll have employees who are both engaged and motivated, and who can benefit themselves from their experience as an employee advocate. The more they invest into the company through sharing content and brand advocacy, the more they have to gain professionally. Win-wins tend to be good for everyone.

Here are just a few of the bonuses other companies are already seeing from a serious approach to employee activation:

3 Brands with Employee Advocate Programs

Take a look at these examples of brands who have made engaging their employees a priority.

Dell

Dell excels at activating their employees on social. What they’ve done is create a dynamic training, support and facilitation program to empower their sales employees to be active on social and to ensure social usage is as effective as possible.

Dell’s Social Media University involves over 16,000 employees in 46 different countries. This is how it works:

This highly structured approach has been a big win for both employees and Dell.

Sales employees who use social media outperform nonsocial salespeople by 23 percent. For Dell, they get way more customer engagement – social content posted by employees, for Dell, is eight times more engaging than the content the brand publishes. It’s also boosted profits, by over $14 million.

Adobe

Adobe’s Social Shift Program is another forward-thinking approach to employee brand advocacy. It offers education and best practices to help employees become better brand advocates. Employees can even test their ambassador skills by practicing with simulated experiences.

Lauren Friedman, head of Global Social Business Enablement for Adobe says of their employee advocacy, “We believe that people trust people. People buy from people. Relationships fuel our overall success.” She also points out the program works through enabling and encouragement, giving employees plenty of room to be themselves, saying, “We don’t want to create an army of Adobe-bots!”

Adobe then encourages employees to share on different platforms.

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Their strategy works. Over one-third of Adobe’s employees have gone through the Social Shift. Adobe is known for having the most social employees in the entire tech industry.

Starbucks

Headed by the always visionary Howard Schultz, Starbucks is another company that has been motivating employee brand advocacy for years. This hasn’t just led to active employees on social media and boosted trust in the brand, it’s also sparked their customer-based brand advocate army. Starbucks is king at inspiring user-generated content.

Starbucks encourages employees to share brand updates and stories on their social media profiles. They also use their internal team to gain feedback before releasing new products. This is an excellent technique for B2C brands who want to test out new ideas on ‘consumers’ before launching into the real-world.

“[Employees] are the true ambassadors of our brand, the real merchants of romance, and as such, the primary catalyst for delighting customers. [They] elevate the experience for each customer – something you can hardly accomplish with a billboard or a 30-second spot.”

Howard Schultz

7 Tips for Activating Your Employees

Your employees are more trusted, more social, and may be some of your brand’s best storytellers. Here are tips and strategies you can use to motivate them to be vocal about your brand.

1. Start Small with the Social Stars You Already Have

Talent consultant Lars Schmidt warns that starting an employee activation initiative with your HR department or upper management can backfire. “Employees may be skeptical if HR or leadership pushes them to act. If they see their peer participating, they’ll be more compelled to follow suit and your initiatives can grow organically and authentically.”

Identify your employees who are already advocates on social media and start small with them. Once you’ve trained them to use their social profiles or their dedicated branded profiles, you have your internal leaders who you can then use for a larger program.

2. Make It about Personal Branding

The best way to motivate brand advocacy within your organization isn’t by offering a financial or physical reward. It’s about personal incentive.

Especially for B2B brands, employees have the chance to share their own expertise and establish themselves as industry experts while they work for you when they post well-researched or thought-provoking content on LinkedIn, publish how-to videos on YouTube, or share links to content on Twitter and Facebook.

Your employee activation should be about empowering your employees to be the best professional version of themselves. This, in turn, benefits your brand as they are your organization’s social representatives. It also fosters an authentic interest in giving their best to the organization they work for.

Approach brand advocacy as advantageous for both company and employee and you’ll get sustainable interest.

3. Teach Your Employees to Fish

Have a support system in place at the beginning. You don’t have to start out with a social training academy like Dell or Adobe. But, at least have established guidelines, tips and best practices, and identify social experts within your organization for individuals to go to with questions or for some one-on-one guidance. This will set the foundation for a successful program.

An effective strategy is to create regular educational content. Webinars, a library of educational videos filled with social media pointers, training sessions, or short weekly or monthly meetings are all methods you can use to make sure your employees know what’s acceptable to share and the best ways they can be successful sharing their expert voice on various social media platforms.

4. Make Social Sharing Convenient with Curated Content

Your employees are more likely to be active when you make it easy for them. As part of your employee activation program, you can regularly supply curated content. Include relevant blog posts, videos, industry news, and case studies. Then, encourage your advocates to edit the posts so as to use their personal voice.

5. Incentivize with Contests

You won’t be able to maintain a sustainable employee advocacy program on incentives alone, but they definitely can keep people interested. Think weekly contests or giveaways. This type of motivation is more about keeping your employees engaged than it is the reward itself so make your contests fun and interesting.

6. Leverage Technology

Yes, there’s an app for employee activation. In fact, there are several, including plenty of machine learning algorithms and AI-inspired platforms. Take advantage of these tools to make motivating your employees that much more effective.

7. Use Your Advocates Wisely

While your employees’ social profiles may have the Midas touch, you still need to be careful how much you use your employee advocates. This is true for two reasons. First, you don’t want to make your advocates feel pressured to spend too much time on social sharing. For them, it should be simple and easy, not another task. Otherwise, you’ll have less people interested in your voluntary program.

Second, and more importantly, too much social sharing will dilute the value and authenticity of employee content. The reason employee sharing is so powerful is that it is an individual sharing content rather than the brand. If your employees’ social networks are being inundated by posts, people are going to start ignoring the content and, at some point, it will start to feel like brand marketing content rather than authentic insights.

Employee activation gives your brand’s online presence and reputation a mega boost of trust and engagement. Leads that are generated from employee social sharing convert seven times more often than other leads. It can increase sales and establish your brand as a more trustworthy organization. It can even help you attract premium hires to help your business succeed more in the future.

On the other hand, overlooking the potential of your employees can be a fatal error. Not only will you miss the chance to rake in more leads and sales and to enjoy a brand reputation boost. You are also missing the opportunity to help your employees grow professionally and to experience a greater sense of value and connection with the company they spend 40 plus hours a week working for – and this will cost you big time.

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