For many team leaders, when they think of the term “employee advocacy,” they imagine a one-way street where employees share positive messages about the company. In reality, though, it works both ways. To have employee advocacy, you must first have a supportive management team that empowers employees by promoting trust, and opportunities for employee engagement.
To create an environment where employees want to advocate for the company, leaders and managers must also advocate for the people on their teams. After all, if these individuals don’t feel supported by their leaders, why should they go the extra mile to advocate for the business?
Does this type of employee advocacy sound foreign to you? Are you unsure of how to do it effectively?
If so, keep reading to learn more about why employee advocacy matters and how you can step up to support your team. Or, jump straight to the content you want to read by clicking a link below:
What is Employee Advocacy?
Employee advocacy is a two-way street, remember?
This term often refers to employees speaking positively about and advocating for the company. At the same time, it also describes the way team leaders and managers support and uplift their subordinates.
A good team leader sees it as their responsibility to make sure their team members have everything they need to succeed. By supporting their team; their team, in turn, will support them and the company.
Types of employee advocacy
There are a few different ways that employees can advocate for their employers and employers can advocate for their employees. The following are some common types of advocacy that both employers and employees can practice:
- Social media advocacy (sharing positive posts, articles, etc. about the company online)
- Employee recognition (celebrating team members when they do something well, improve in a specific area, etc.)
- Incentives (offering raises, bonuses, or other types of rewards to encourage a high level of performance and advocacy from team members)
- Workplace support (giving team members access to the tools, training, and overall support they need to do their jobs well and have positive feelings about the company)
- Swag (giving employees branded items so they can rep the company when they’re out and about)
Why Do You Need to Advocate for Your Employees?
There are many reasons to make employee advocacy a priority as a team leader. The following are some of the top benefits you, your workers, and the company as a whole will experience when you make a concentrated effort to advocate for the people on your team:
Improve company culture
When team leaders work hard to advocate for their employees, the entire culture of the company improves. If team members know that they’re being supported by their leaders and managers, they’re going to be more inclined to work hard and speak positively about the business, even when they’re off the clock.
Increase employee retention
Happy, productive, engaged employees are less likely to leave their job.
If you’re sick of seeing talented workers leave the company, you may need to take a step back and reconsider your leadership approach. Is it possible they left because they didn’t feel you advocated for and supported them?
When employees feel supported and are provided the tools they need to do their jobs – they’re ultimately going to get more done during the day. If you want your team members to be more productive, think about how your support (or lack thereof) could be contributing to their overall productivity.
A more productive team is a more profitable team.
Every business wants to increase its profits and bring in more revenue, right? If you advocate for your team and offer them consistent support, they’ll get more done, which can boost your overall company goals.
Improve company reputation
If you advocate for your team, they’ll also be more likely to advocate for you. Your employees have a life outside of work, of course!
Happy employees are more willing to speak highly about the company they work for on social platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. They are likely to share your company posts to their personal pages – increasing your online visibility and getting you into the minds of others outside of your network.
Additionally, with websites like: Glassdoor and Indeed – current employees (and those who've left) are encouraged to share their experiences at a specific job. They can review different aspects of the company like: work/life balance, salary, organizational culture, and more.
These things, in turn, can either improve or demolish a company's reputation. Make sure that you're treating employees with respect and making the environment something they are proud to be apart of. This will allow make it easier for you to attract more qualified, talented individuals in the future.
5 Ways to Improve Employee Advocacy in the Workplace
Now, let’s dive into the specific ways that you can start advocating for your employees. Here are some tips to help you become a better advocate:
1. Get to know your team
To become a true advocate for your employees, you need to get to know them. Learn about their work history, their skills, their interests, and their goals for the future.
Ask for feedback on your current level of advocacy, too, and find out what they’d like to see more or less of moving forward.
2. Generously offer recognition and praise
Be generous with your employee recognition and praise. When someone makes progress on a project or accomplishes a task, give them a shout-out and let them know that you appreciate their hard work.
Even a quick “good job on x” message in the group chat can make a big difference to employee morale and overall feelings toward the company.
3. Be specific
Whether you’re giving feedback, delivering instructions on a new project, or anything in between, be as specific as you can. Clarity is key when it comes to creating a positive work environment, preventing miscommunications, and setting employees up for success.
4. Offer support regularly
If you see that an employee may be struggling with something, offer support and talk to them about what you can do to help. Look for the steps you can take to solve the problem.
For example, do they need a different type of equipment? Are there technological or logistical solutions that can make their job easier?
5. Use employee engagement software
Speaking of technological solutions, make sure you’re using the right project management and employee engagement software.
These tools help you to keep track of your team’s progress, schedule check-ins and follow-ups, and offer praise and recognition. The easier it is for you to do these things, the more likely you are to consistently advocate for your employees.
Improve Your Employee Advocacy Efforts Today
Now that you know more about the importance of employee advocacy and the right way to advocate for your team, it’s time to start working on your skills and approach.
Keep this information in mind so you can become a better team leader and give your workers the support they need to be happy, engaged, and productive.