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?
In the report, we talk a lot about what we think employee advocacy means to business and IT leaders. But for the latter, one fact jumped out at me: Advocacy correlates with work technology attitudes and behaviors in North America. When asked whether they’re likely to advocate for their company’s products and services, here’s how employees’ tech behaviors broke down:

 

What it means: employees who are optimistic about technology and well-equipped with information and communications technology (ICT) are more likely to be net advocates than those who are not.

But in the overall analysis, functions like sales, HR, and finance score high in employee advocacy, while IT professionals score low. As IT professionals who are presumably in love with technology, you actually buck the trend.

So here are my questions: Do you advocate for your company’s products, services, and jobs? What role should business technology leaders play to encourage employee advocacy?

Weigh in if you have an opinion.