4 Proven Strategies to Incentivize your Employee Advocates

How do you make employee advocates naturally share more content? With incentives. Seems like a no-brainer, right?

Unfortunately many companies fail to incentivize employee advocates for their contribution, which leads to a drop in morale, effort, and performance.

Employees are the most essential asset to your marketing initiatives. Empowering them through tangible and intangible rewards will help secure a strong and sustainable advocacy program. Research shows that 69% of employees would work harder if their efforts were better appreciated. Incentivizing employees makes a huge difference and can really help you bring the results you desire.

A well-planned incentive strategy can be broken into: corporate hierarchy or personas. Whichever one you choose depends on the size of your employee advocacy program — the number of advocates. So, if you have a smaller program with 20 to 50 advocates, you might want to focus on corporate hierarchy, whereas a bigger program of 100+ advocates fits a persona break-down.

Here are the differences between the two types of incentive programs:

  • Corporate Hierarchy: From juniors, to managers, to directors, and all the way up to C-level executives, you can choose to incentivize employees based to their level of power and status in the organization. In other words, a CMO who holds more authority should be incentivized very differently to a Junior Marketer who’s just starting out.
  • Personas: Understanding the different personalities that exist within each department is also helpful when building your incentive strategy. For example, salespeople have a different skill-set than marketers. They tend to be more driven by commission and monetary rewards, while marketers might prefer to be glorified or recognized for their work in front of their colleagues.

Based on these parameters, you can brainstorm effective ways to incentivize your advocates and double the amount of content they are sharing. Here are just a few proven strategies that we gathered:

1. Monetary Rewards

Perhaps the first idea that comes to mind is incentivizing employee advocates with financial bonuses. Other ways to increase their motivation is by giving them Amazon vouchers, movie tickets, or even open-loop gift cards which they can use to shop at a variety of stores. This type of incentive is going to be most appealing to your sales and junior-level employees who appreciate money.

If you’re looking for a more unique incentive, then consider shifting employees’ LinkedIn profile to ‘Premium’. This will be particularly valued by your sales team who are most interested in unlocking new opportunities and enhancing their professional brand, or by HR who need to find qualified candidates.

2. Learning Opportunities

A successful employee advocacy program runs on successful employees. Offering advocates the opportunity to expand their skills, knowledge, and strategies in the form of seminars and training programs can go a long way to making them feel valued and appreciated. From a hierarchical standpoint, this kind of incentive is most beneficial to your top level management, directors, and executives.

3. Fun and Wellness

Rewarding your employees doesn’t have to be complicated. Most of them just want to have fun and unwind. Food is simple and often very appreciated. Whether you order catering service to your office, or host an off-site event such as a lunch, dinner, or a night at the bar, gathering everyone who contribute to the program is a great way to connect. You can also organize a fun day out to see a movie or play laser tag.

Since the goal is to motivate employees on an individual level, these types of rewards should only be offered to the leader of a particular team or department. In other to redeem the reward, leaders will have to make sure that team members are consistently sharing content.

4. Employee Recognition

Every employee wants to be congratulated, particularly those in marketing and customer success, or those who are just starting out their careers and need a boost of encouragement. It’s important to acknowledge advocates for their contribution to the program. For example, if they shared the most content out of everyone or they generated the highest number of engagement. It’s also important to do this in the presence of their peers. For example, via a team communication tool like Slack or Google Hangouts, or during a physical employee meeting.

Which Strategy will you Choose?

A successful employee advocacy program stems from recognition and rewards. Failing to meet the two will lead to a decline in employee participation, and in turn, a drop in your results. Depending on the number of employee advocates, you can implement an incentive strategy that best fits your company’s hierarchy and personas, ensuring an enjoyable and fruitful program.

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Originally published at www.oktopost.com on May 16, 2017.