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employee advocacy

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Employee advocacy is the promotion of an organization by its staff members.

A business may ask employees to actively promote the organization, often through social media, as an element of their jobs. However, the most compelling employee advocacy consists of freely-offered communications on the part of the workforce. The question of whether or not staff members are likely to freely promote an organization is highly related to the degree of employee engagement in the workplace, and employee engagement is largely a factor of the corporate culture and the employer’s ability to make working for them a positive experience.

Forrester research studied the status of employee advocacy through a global survey of over 5,500 information workers. The survey used a 10-point Likert scale to quantify the response to two questions:

  • How likely are you to recommend your company's products or services to a friend or family member?
  • How likely are you to recommend a job at your company to a friend or family member?

The results of Forrester’s research indicated that there is a great deal of room for improvement. Overall, the North American score was negative twenty-four percent on the employee advocacy score for recommending their company's products and services. Forty-nine percent of the information workers sampled were detractors, twenty-four percent were neutral and just twenty-seven percent were promoters. For job referrals, the overall score was negative sixteen percent, with forty-three percent detractors, twenty-nine percent neutral and twenty-seven percent promoters.

See a Google hangout on the topic of employee advocacy:

This was last updated in October 2014

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If you make a product that offers a compelling benefit, employees will advocate for it just out of due course. If you have to work on getting your employees to advocate for your company, that may be telling you something. It felt fun going to my current company when I transitioned jobs, and when asked if I knew about their product, I was able to truthfully say "yes, I and a dozen other people wrote a book while using it, I've been a customer for two years!"
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