Employee advocacy has become a recruitment buzzword that has employers and recruiters scrambling to try to harness it. With the dynamic of hiring shifting from an employer controlled market to a candidate controlled market, employee advocacy has become more important than ever before. The following are a few things that you should know about employee advocacy and how it could help your recruitment.
Engagement is not the same as Advocacy – but it’s a Start
Engagement and advocacy are sometimes confused, but they are not the same thing. Employee engagement refers to how involved and invested in the organization that an employee is. Advocacy refers to how the employee promotes the organization both inside and outside of its walls.
Engagement is an important gateway to advocacy. If an employee is not engaged with the inner workings of a company, they will never be a good advocate for the company.
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Recommendations from a Personal Source Are Far More Trusted
Employee advocacy is a driving force in recruitment (and marketing) because people are more likely to trust the recommendation of a friend or relative than that of a brand or unfamiliar entity. When employees love the company they are working for, they want to share it with their loved ones and that kind of recommendation can go much farther than any amount of paid marketing.
Formal Advocacy Programs Can Be Strategic
Formal advocacy programs have become more popular due to their success. Brands advocate employees’ personal agendas and employees in turn promote the company, which is beneficial for all involved. Firms that have formal advocacy programs tend to grow faster than those that don’t, which may be in part attributed to the ease of acquiring candidates to fill higher ranking positions.
Empowered Employees Become Advocates
Employees that feel empowered within a company take leadership over their responsibilities and advocate the parts of the company that they love. By making employees feel empowered, employers help to ensure that employees are not just engaged or satisfied with the company, but that they feel enough ownership to promote the company to those that they are closest with.
Retention May Benefit
Employee advocacy can help to attract new candidates, but it can also help to keep those people as employees longer than the average candidate that comes in from outside. New employees that start out hopeful and consistently hear good things about the company may stay on longer and be more engaged with the company on a daily basis than those that come in blind after viewing job ads.
Making Employees into Advocates
While understanding that employee advocacy can help boost your brand is a big step, understanding how to make employees into advocates is trickier. Employees may love their jobs and still not talk about it outside of work unless there is inspiration or incentive to do so. Employee advocacy programs are one way to drive inspiration, but it will be clear if the advocacy is forced.
Making employees feel that they are valued and appreciated is essential to developing employee advocacy. By starting in this way, advocacy programs become truly grassroots and work in the long term.