Employee Advocates Emerge From Empowered Workforce

Ever heard a senior leader in your organization proclaim “Everyone’s in sales!”? I have. In fact, it’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot in the last three years from executives at conferences, industry events, client meetings and more. To me, it’s right up there with “All hands on deck!” and “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” (only in a less evocative, corporate-speak kind of way).

Yet during the most recent recession, the phrase has taken on a more urgent tone and seems to mean: “Demand stinks. Drop what you’re doing. Advocate for the company.” Particularly among already hyper-efficient companies, stimulating demand with a whole-company response may just be one recipe for retaining existing jobs and creating new ones.
 
But are employees responding? Forrester’s most recent Workforce Forrsights survey suggests few actually heed this executive call to action.
 
As an extension of our Empowered research series looking at employee empowerment, we decided to measure employee advocacy by borrowing the methodology of Net Promoter. We surveyed over 5,000 information workers across five countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. We included 18 different professions and multiple industries. In the report, "Do Your Employees Advocate For Your Company" we use two questions to measure employee advocacy:
  1. How likely are you to recommend your company’s products or services to a friend or family member?
  2. How likely are you to recommend a job at your company to a friend or family member?
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Will Facebook Places Check-Ins Devalue Facebook "Likes"?

The value of Facebook "Likes" is supposed to be clear: My friend likes something, and that is valuable and persuasive information for me. This is the idea behind Bing launching social search — if my friends have liked something for which I'm searching, that will be more relevant and helpful information than just another one-size-fits-all search engine results page. It's also the idea behind Facebook's Open Graph — if you visit a site and see that a friend has "Liked" it, you are more likely to pay attention, spend time, and complete a transaction.

But as we all know, a "Like" (with quotations) does not necessarily signify a like (without quotations). An interesting ExactTarget study demonstrated that people may "Like" a brand for a wide range of reasons: to learn about discounts, to earn freebies, for entertainment, to gain access to exclusive content, and — of course — to show support for the company to others. Just look at the list of companies you follow on Facebook — do you like them all equally? Are there any you've followed even though you really aren't a true fan of the organization or its products? The disconnection between “Like” and like will only grow greater in the coming year, as brands looking to expand their pool of Facebook friends reward new fans and followers (an activity I compared with the “black hat” tactic of buying links in the early days of search engine optimization.) 

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