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Employee Advocacy For the Startup

  1. “We see Lean Startup methodology being used inappropriately as an excuse to not take sales and marketing seriously,” - Marc Andreessen, Investor
  2. 66 Believe Conversations with Employees Are THE Most Credible Source of Company Information -Edelman Trust Barometer Report50%
  3. 1717 THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. Feel Free to Send Me ANY Feedback: linkedin/taracoomans @taracoomans

Editor's Notes

  1. The web and social media have ushered in changes in the way business is done. More and more businesses are using a “social business” model to increase productivity, attract talent and capitalize on how customers act and what they expect. There are a few key components to the social biz culture that are relevant to this discussion. At first glance, these values don’t seem so intimidating, in fact, they seem quite manageable. But in practice, they take practice, especially for CEO/founder who feel a sense of identity in their company Specifically feedback mechanisms and access to information seem to be some of the bigger challenges. But you’re in a unique position. The earlier you start this process, the more practice you have. As you grow, it will be easier to scale. It’s MUCH harder to try and change a company with 1,000 employees than it is with one under 500 or 100. And you’re lucky, because this is even HARDER to do in companies with large union presence. You’re the CEO - you lead the charge. You set the tone. You create the energy.
  2. But those components are critical to employee advocacy. You PAY these people, if they can’t get excited about your industry, products, services, values, how can customers be expected to be MORE passionate? And especially if your biz is small, and you haven’t identified passionate customers online. This is one way to affordably approach that issue. But the solution is only part of it - the devil is in the details. This is not something you MAKE people do. It’s something you EMPOWER them to do. You INVITE them to do. I’m not talking about employees posting to YOUR accounts - I’m talking about them sharing information with THEIR accounts. Although this is a great step to also collaboratively managing the company’s social presence as well.
  3. Take review of your digital presence and decide if they support people sharing information about your company. Use internal communication tools like Podio or Basecamp to inform employees of new products, new developments, articles of interest to your industry, products etc. Indicate whether they are “shareables” Consider ways in which employees can embrace social media in their work lives. Is their office space interesting? Empower and enable social media usage. Some basic training for employees - whether its communication training or SM platform training. Incorporate your employees into this process - hold a day long retreat. Tap into THEIR interests and passions. Discuss how it intersects with their work like (if it does) And start employing that essential feedback value by asking them for THEIR ideas about the business, their jobs, Create simple policies for using SM at work. Create simple policies and procedures to know whether information they has access to is shareable.
  4. What ever you do, don’t over complicate it! When they need approval and when they don’t. When they should call in reinforcements. Zappos does an amazing job at this. Google Zappos and Employee and you’ll find thousands of examples of why. Don’t try and cover every potential situation, provide guiding principes by which they can make their own decisions. Things like
  5. What ARE you’re company values? And don’t say making money. That’s an outcome not a value. Don’t give me mission statement mumbo jumbo. Really think about it.
  6. Explore this with your employees, find out what THEY thing your voice and values are. Find out what stories there are to be told by your company’s people. Understanding what your company stands for - clarity, will make releasing the reighns so much easier. Because you’ll know THEY know.
  7. We’ve talking about feedback - it’s best to get started internally. It will help you in so many ways. Because once your on social, you’ve got to be ready to hear feedback. And more importantly, really consider and act on feedback. Share feedback internally. Ask for internal soluutions. ASK your customers what they’d like.
  8. Customers are giving feedback right now. Employees are sending you feedback right now. Ignoring it is getting more and more dangerous.
  9. It’s scary. Empowering people in this way. But the rewards outweigh the risks. By taking these steps, you’ll ALL feel more empowered