How engaged leaders foster a culture primed for the benefits of employee advocacy.
No doubt you remember George Bush's famous "1,000 Points of Light" speech, praising community organizations spread like stars across the nation doing good work. In each of those organizations there was surely a respected leader who inspired their team to greatness through clarity of vision, credibility, confidence building, and a connectedness to the team.
There's a lot of valuable thinking on leadership's impact on employee engagement, including this post on employee engagement from Dynamic Signal's CEO Russ Fradin; and this advice on leadership traits that inspire employee engagement from Andre Lavoi, CEO ClearCompany. What I find most fascinating about these engagement-centric leaders is they become a beacon of light for their teams, whether a startup SMB or a multi-national enterprise. The Beacon (with a capital B) continuously lights the path forward.
It's this aspect that I think is such a powerful metaphor when communicating the value of employee advocacy to an organization's leadership. Stats and data aside, each time a trusted CEO interacts with the community - on or offline - that light shines brighter sparking new lights along the way.
My "lightbulb" moment (pardon the pun) around this type of leader came while presenting the benefits of an advocacy program to this type of CEO. By her own admission, the feedback she's received about her visibility, clarity, and connectedness has further fortified and "shaped her as a CEO." I told her:
"You've become a beacon they follow and emulate. An employee advocacy program would intentionally create hundreds of those beacons out in the community by empowering them to share valuable company news, industry trends, job openings, programs and services, and more. Their authentic peer-to-peer reach into the community through social channels doesn't just amplify your brand message, but amplifies their confidence and roles as experts."
How could that not translate to greater perceived brand value in the community and greater potential market share, as well as greater employee satisfaction, improved quality hires and increased retention?
Do you know leaders who qualify as beacons? I'd love to hear your thoughts on engaged leaders fostering a culture that's ready to deploy an employee advocacy program.