Why Employee Advocacy Can Strengthen Your Employer Brand


Sarah serves as CEO of Tribal Impact, a specialist firm focused on activating employee voices & accelerating business impact on social media

As a CEO who is obsessed with feedback, I’ve long understood the value of the net promoter score, a widely used metric to measure the likelihood a customer would recommend your company and services.

More recently, I’m finding that companies are evolving this approach to measure the impact of the employee net promoter score (known as “eNPS”) and how likely employees are to 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 well-known. Establishing a reputation as a trusted employer accelerates growth and reduces costs. Consider, for example, that:

• With a strong employer brand, you can reduce the cost per hire by 50% and reduce turnover by 28%, according to a report by LinkedIn.

• A negative reputation can cost a company at least 10% more per hire, the Harvard Business Review reported.

However, “managing” the employer brand has become increasingly difficult. With transparent company-review platforms such as Glassdoor, brands are living in glasshouses. The employee experience isn’t just being conveyed in carefully crafted testimonials or highly polished video snippets; it’s being told (whether good or bad) through raw and unfiltered stories shared on social media by employees.

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In addition, quit rates have been at their highest levels in recent years, which means costs are increasing exponentially for employers who need to attract, hire and onboard talent. This is a C-suite issue.

Just recently, I introduced the eNPS score into our business to better align how 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.

An IDC survey from July 2021 found that 85% of respondents think “an improved employee experience and higher employee engagement translate to a better customer experience, higher customer satisfaction, and higher revenue for their organization.” Further, Stephen R. Covey is known to have said, “Always treat your employees exactly as 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 promotor score) and how your employees are talking about your brand (employee advocacy). Organizations can implement this as a standard for measuring employee engagement. As a quick indicator, check your brand’s “Recommend to a Friend” score on Glassdoor to better understand how your employees feel about recommending your organization as a place to work.

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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 activating your employees to become the authentic voice of your employer brand:

Remember that not all employees will be your advocates (and that’s OK).

Don’t make the mistake of assuming every one of your employees will want to share brand 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 benchmark. I’ve observed that some organizations within the IT Services industry see more than 30% of their employees sharing content.

Focus on amplifying their brand, not the company brand.

A common mistake I see is when organizations allocate topics and themes to socially active employees and expect them to become “influencers” on behalf of the brand. Realizing that advocacy isn’t 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 fast.

Your employees won’t 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 produce videos and write 2,000-word blog posts will overwhelm them, so build a framework that simply encourages taking the next step.

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Map their learning journey to their social media starting point.

Every employee will start their social media learning journey from a different place; they’ll learn at a different pace and consume knowledge in different ways. Also, be mindful that different roles have differing goals. For example, activating leadership on social media will impact the employer brand whereas activating your sales team will impact revenue goals.

Be mindful of cultural complexities.

When you overlay the complexity that comes with different cultures, social media tools and languages, you’ll soon understand that activating employees on social media isn’t a quick fix. Too often, organizations invest in employee advocacy tools with little or no consideration for how they’ll be managed, measured and supported. Launch a program, not a tool.

Forward-thinking organizations are fast realizing the impact that the authentic voice of their employees can bring to overall business growth. In my experience, potential benefits can include extending brand reach, deepening customer trust and increasing employee loyalty. Leaders should wake up to the fact that employee advocacy is more than a tool. It’s about humanizing the brand, one employee voice at a time.


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