As part of August’s Employee Advocacy (EA) month, Oracle Social’s Senior Content Manager Maggie Schneider Huston spoke with Russ Fradin, CEO of Dynamic Signal,* about how to build your team through EA tools.
Maggie Schneider Huston: So let’s start with the basics. How do you convince CEOs that they need an EA tool?
Russ Fradin: It hasn’t been that hard. They really spend a lot of time thinking about their employees, and EA is an extension of that relationship. Every CEO understands that their employees are their best assets, as well as their best advocates.
MSH: What about skeptical employees? How do you convince people who say “I want to keep my business and personal lives separate” to use an EA tool?
RF: As long as people have had jobs, there has been a mixing of personal and professional life. If you look back to your father or grandfather’s time, they were talking to other people about their jobs and companies. Now, with the advent of social media, it has become broader and more prevalent. The barriers to insight into a company are more porous.
I don’t believe that people don’t talk about their jobs. If they like their friends and they like their job, they’ll boast about it. They might share a job listing or the launch of the product they’re working on. Granted, some people won’t be on social media at all. Others only use it to look at pictures of their grandchildren. But for those who are on social media - it’s an incredible opportunity.
If you say, “Would you be interested in sharing corporate content?” many people will refuse. If, however, you say, “Here’s this tool that will help you build your brand, sell more, and is easy to use” you’re much more likely to get people involved. As long as companies view this as partnership with their employees, and make it easy for employees to share content, the EA program will be successful.
MSH: What other benefits have you seen from EA programs?
RF: We initially thought of EA as a marketing tool, but it has become a giant success on the internal communication side. Millennials are taking over the workforce. Many of them have had mobile phones and social media for their entire careers. We realized if we don’t do a better job of communicating with our employees - where they can share it easily and quickly - we’re failing as a company.
Millennials don’t like email or intranet. They want information in quick and easily digestible chunks on their smartphones. If you curate great content for them to share (and make it easy for them to do it) then you’ll reach them more effectively. Essentially, it turns each employee’s mobile phone into a hub of interesting things at your company.
I think this is going to be a very big issue in the future. The partnership between employees and companies, when intersected with mobile and social natives who you need to communicate effectively with… I think it’s going to be the fabric of running a company. Professional and personal walls are becoming more permeable.
For example, 80% of activity comes from our mobile app at Dynamic Signal. Surprisingly, the number of people who downloaded the app increased over the first nine months, as bystanders began to see how easy it was to use. For those who don’t want to download the app, we do send emails and have a browser plugin to share content as well.
MSH: What’s the most important takeaway for creating a culture of EA?
RF: The CEO and CMO must practice what they preach. They need to post frequently, and use the tool to set an example for their employees. That kind of constant usage, combined with recognition and rewards, goes a long way.
We’re in an amazing job market. If your employees are working for you, they likely want to work with you. Executives need to approach it as, “We’re in this together, let’s make it better.”
*Full Disclosure: Oracle is a customer of Dynamic Signal