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Employees can be your best advocates

Organisations are always looking for advocacy - people who will stand up and endorse them. In many ways, that’s the holy grail.

There are lots of way to do that and find mutual understanding with stakeholders – there’s been a lot of talk in recent years about engaging influencers to endorse you brand, for instance, through paid and organic relationships. But there’s a growing appreciation that employees can be a vital stakeholder group that can be fantastic advocates too.

The latest Edelman Trust Barometer found that, globally, 75% of people trust their employer to do what is right, significantly more than NGOs (57%), business (56%) and the media (47%).

And more than that, 71% of employees believe it’s critically important for “my CEO” to respond to challenging times, with more than three-quarters saying they want CEOs to take the lead on change instead of waiting for government to impose it.

In fact, an employee’s expectation that their employer will join them in taking action on societal issues is nearly as high as their expectations of personal empowerment and job opportunity.

This is fundamental

- people want to work for an organisation – and a leader - because of what they stand for.

This represents both a challenge for organisations, in that the gauntlet has been laid down for employers to step up to the plate and deliver on the expectations of their staff – and it has to be led authentically by the C-suite.

But it also represents a massive opportunity from a comms perspective, particularly against a backdrop where we are seeing real convergence between internal and external communications channels.

Employees want and need to see that their leader is championing and delivering the change they expect. How are they leading change? What are they doing to follow through on their promises to stand up for their organisation’s values?

And more than this, how can you successfully merge your internal and external comms to harness the positive attitudes of employees? Because if you can do that, it has the potential to be a really powerful form of advocacy.

For some inspiration, take a look at the Virgin Holidays ‘Lose the Labels’ video from a couple of years ago, which featured employees talking about a key issue.

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