Employee advocacy is an extremely effective communication tool. When properly executed, an employee advocacy program can increase your social media reach, engagement and referrals exponentially. Think about it. People are more likely to be influenced by their peers. This has been repeatedly proved by Edelman’s Consumer Trust Research, year after year.
With employee advocacy, you can have 10s, 100s or even 1000s of people advocating your brand. Companies can promote products, amplify events and even build powerful online reputations via employee advocacy – which makes the strategy an invaluable no-brainer. Yet many companies struggle with successfully and consistently prompting employee advocacy, and many times it’s because of demotivated employees.
So, how does one keep employees engaged over a long period of time? Here are 7 ideas of how you can incentivize your employee advocacy program.
7 ideas that can make for the best employee advocacy incentives
Say there’s an eCommerce retail company that’s performing well in every area of business, but it’s growth is not where it could be because the company is understaffed. Given the scenario, the company would definitely want to hire the right talent and accelerate results. The problem is when they can’t find the right candidates for the jobs.
But the company is aware that their employees are connected to plenty of talent on social media. So they decide to start an employee advocacy program using DrumUp to get the word out about available jobs by asking employees to share posts on social media. In most cases, employees are happy to help when sharing is easy. But you can kick your program into overdrive by incentivizing employee advocacy activities.
1. Enable employees’ passions and hobbies via employee advocacy prizes
Know your employees and what drives them. If most of your employees are biking enthusiasts or gamers, choose a biking or gaming accessory as your first month’s prize. If yours is a large organization, you can humor one group’s passion each month. So, January would be about the bikers, February about the gamers, March about the athletes and so on. That way, employees not only get to brag about their work but also get the chance to win a prize that truly excites them.
You could also pay attention to passions common to most people such as relationships and fitness. For relationships, you could giveaway a romantic candlelight dinner and for fitness, a one month’s subscription to a gym. You get the drift. Get creative and choose exciting prizes.
2. Use employee advocacy incentives to make employees love their workplace more
Employee advocacy incentives are an opportunity to reineforce an employee’s relationship with his or hr workplace. One interesting incentive idea could be allowing the employee to pick a workstation/work spot/cabin of his or her choice. Another could be allowing an employee to decide what to do with the following month’s leisure expenditure or where to go for the next month’s offsite activity or office dinner. You could even get lunch from the cafeteria delivered to that employee’s workstation everyday for a month, or allow them to decide the AC temparature for a week.
Finally, you could give the winning employee an extra day off from work or a two hour lunch.
3. Contribute to an employee’s monthly purchase expenses using vouchers or coupons
Sometimes, simple and mundane prizes can motivate employees to share. Movie tickets, Amazon vouchers or points, vouchers for commonly used grocery, pharmacy or electronics apps are all great ideas for employee advocacy incentives. Anything you can do to contribute to an employee’s monthly expenditure counts. You could even focus on details such as daily transport. If your company doesn’t offer compensation for transport, you could offer Uber or cab coupons, bus, train or metro passes as employee advocacy prizes.
However, you should choose these prizes carefully, depending on the participating employees. Avoid offering metro passes to those not likely to use the metro.
4. Invest in an employee’s growth as an employee advocacy incentive
This is one powerful employee advocacy incentive idea. Think about it. Any employee would appreciate the opportunity to learn new things, develop their skills and advance in their careers. Your employee advocacy prize could be a Coursera MOOC subscription or free access to other paid training programs. It could also be a highly sought-after pair of passes to an event or seminar. Different courses could be chosen for different departments. If your target group includes managers or executives, you could even invest in MBAs or other useful manegerial courses. Consider the investment especially if your managers and executives are social media influencers.
Many companies already have mandates for the completion of employee training programs. Employee advocacy incentives can just be an excuze to increase the investment in such courses.
5. Consider recognition-based prizes or incentives for your employee advocacy program
It has been proven that employees who are recognized for their work perform better. That’s why recognition can play an important role in incetivizing employee advocacy. If you’re wondering how you can weave recognition into your employee advocacy program, think award ceremonies. If you already have annual award ceremonies, you can include additional awared for top employee advocates. Else, you could create a ceremony of sorts to reward your top employee advocates. Yet another option worth considering is a fun trophy that can change hands as top advocates change.
Finally, remember that employees appreciate the small things as well – such as simple recognition or mentions during meetings or in front of their peers. Mentions in weekly internal newsletters can also work quite well.
6. Employee advocacy incentives that include product discounts or giveaways
If your company is B2C and retail, there’s a good chance that your products can act as excellent incentives for the effort that your employees invest in advocacy. Electronics, furniture, clothing, accessories are all great giveaways. Each new product or product improvement can be an exciting giveaway. You could even offer employees exclusive access to new product lines or limited edition products as incentives.
For instance, if you’re an electric bike manufacturer, offer to giveaway the first bike manufactured to an employee. This can also be great for testing and feedback.
7. Experiment with work/project related incentives for your employee advocacy program
One of the most exciting giveaways for employees could be the opportunity to work on a big projects or events that would add substance to their resumes. This type of employee advocacy incentive can be applied when you are focusing only on a certain group of employees. For instance, if you have a highly motivated team of software developers working on a new and exciting product, ask them to market their own product, in exchange for the opportunity to lead development of the next product.
You can apply this idea to any team – whether it’s in HR, marketing or sales.
8. Consider monetary incentives such as a financial bonus or an upgrade of facilities such as access to Premium accounts on LinkedIn
Your sales department would probably appreciate an Upgrade to LinkedIn Premium, which can help them make more sales and earn more comissions.
9. Incentivize participation in your employee advocacy program by sharing content that’s great for personal brand building
Employees appreciate when a company does something that’s not entirely for their own benefit. Consider sharing a mix of your brand content and content that employees are interested in sharing. This can be general information/news related to your industry. DrumUp’s employee advocacy platform has RSS feed and keyword based content curation that can help with this.
Employee advocacy has the power to transform your business and your relationship with your audience. One of the only challenges standing in your way is engaging employees successfully and long-term. The employee advocacy incentive ideas on this post effectively address that challenge.
Feature image via Freepik.com