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Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 in Employee Advocacy, Social Business, Subject Matter Expert (SME), Uncategorized | 3 comments

Employee Advocacy: Program engagement doesn’t imply program success – part 1

I’m asked repeatedly, “What’s the secret to driving employee engagement for employee advocacy programs?”

The reality is, there is no secret recipe. In this post I’ll share a few thoughts which I hope aide you in evaluating the design of your Employee Advocacy program and help you make the necessary adjustments to drive more employee engagement.

To be sure we’re on the same page, let’s start with what I mean by “Engagement”. My starting premise is that the employee has already agreed to:

  1. Participate in the employee advocacy program
  2. Has been through the pre-requisite on-boarding, training and certification steps required to be officially granted program participant status. This means, they’ve been fully trained and equipped to engage across the social web, they understand the companies guidelines, policies, governance model.
  3. They know their role and how their engagement aligns to helping the company achieve specific goals.

If you need further guidance, reference the second chapter of my book: The Most Powerful Brand on Earth“Help you people do well” sun-burstwhich explains how to establish a program framework which provides the foundation for your people to create and nurture relationships that drive engagement and create business value. Specifically, you’ll better understand how to plan the roles and skills needed, then attract, onboard, support, and measure the people whom you empower in social media.


Program engagement doesn’t imply program success.

Employee engagement in the program is a means to an end. Constant, high engagement is a condition for a successful Employee Advocacy program, but it’s not enough.

Unfortunately, program engagement rates are sometimes considered as the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) for the program’s success. As a result, program managers are tempted to adopt tactics that will artificially boost engagement in the program. Stop right there! Increasing the amount of activity will not impact achievement of program’s goals such as driving an increase in lead generation or increased prominence and ability to influence to drive consideration, preference and choice of your brand’s offering.

To address this, make sure that you are clear on how your program defines program “success” standards:

    • Align the Employee Advocacy program’s goals with business objectives
    • Define the Employee Advocacy program’s success in terms of business impact (sales, conversion rates, cost savings)
    • Establish meaningful business KPIs for program’s success, which are trackable and quantifiable
    • Link performance assessment of Employee Advocacy program managers to achievement of program’s goals (aligned with business objectives), not to program engagement KPIs

The basis of the word “engagement” means commitment.  Approach engagement and adoption from the value to the employee in service of customers and your business will benefit. 


  1. It does not make sense to add generic content to your employee advocacy program, as every individual in the organisation may have different interests. Making groups, etc. can help to encourage the employees to share. And when all fails, gratification always helps!

  2. Great to see you’re putting a process to work, Susan! Thank you for sharing.

    I do agree with Leonard though… too much time is being focused on trying to get all employees on board and train them to share stuff… That’s not how it works or is not a sustainable solution in the long run.

    Instead, try to utilize an identification process to find your best (internal or external) ambassadors, and only work through them. Make it a two-way street and not only about pushing your content.

    Your number of brand ambassadors will be much lower, but your results will be much better, in the long run. Happy to discuss further!

    • I follow the 1:9:90 rule, especially focussing on equipping and empowering the 1:9 and suggest this to others. It’s unrealistic to “get all employees on board and train them to share stuff”

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