5 Ways To Turn Your Employees Into The Best Advocates Of Your Business
Last year, our employees generated hundreds of new inquiries for our Law Firm here in San Diego.
They’re consistently promoting the business at parties, networking events and on social media.
A great example of this was at our most recent team party a few weeks ago. One of the activities we had planned was a friendly cook-off competition.
Each team had to create a dish using only the ingredients provided within the set time limit. It was our take on MasterChef. (Luckily, Gordon Ramsey didn’t have to come in to put out any fires!)
Our staff LOVED it! They were having fun, taking pictures and excitedly sharing them with their Instagram followers.
As a result, I had people private messaging me wanting to know how my law firm could help them with their immigration.
I didn’t prompt them to do this. I never ask them to post on social or talk about the business when they’re out, they just do. And as a result, we end up getting hundreds of leads each year by word of mouth straight from our team — without spending extra money on lead generation.
If your employees aren’t actively inspired to share and promote your business, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to generate highly qualified leads.
Think about it:
Everyone talks about their job, it’s just a matter of if it’s positive or negative.
So in this blog post, I’m going to give you 5 ways to create “employee-advocates” so you can harness the power of this untapped marketing machine for your firm.
But before I can tell you what they are, it’s important you understand what it means to have employees as advocates and the larger impact they’ll have on your business.
What is an “employee-advocate”?
An employee advocate is an employee who believes in your service, vouches for the great work you do, trusts your leadership and loves contributing to the larger vision of the firm.
They are inspired by their colleagues and workplace. And do not need prompting to recommend your business. Employee-advocates are your biggest fans.
Why is it important for you to have employee-advocates?
Like mentioned before, everyone talks about their job, it’s just a matter of what they say.
What do you want your employees to talk about when they’re hanging out with friends after hours, in the checkout line at the grocery store, catching up with their family over the holidays or at networking events?
Here’s what can happen when they talk positively about you and your business:
The Perception Of Your Business In The Community Goes Up
Because people love to do business with people they like and relate to, more people will be inspired to work with you as your employees spread the word.
You Generate More Leads & Sales
Even during non-working hours, it’s likely that at social gatherings employees will rave about their job. When asked “What do you do?” they’ll be proud to say where they work and pass on their contact information.
Your Company Culture & Team Morale Dramatically Improves
Imagine the impact it will have on your business when your employees are excited about coming into work each day, helping clients, working on projects and contributing to the goals of the company. What kind of culture would that create for your company? How much faster will your company grow?
So, have I convinced you to turn your employees into your biggest advocates yet?
Let’s take a look at 5 ways you can do that now.
#1: Show You Trust Them
Trust is a two-way street. The leader should trust his employees and his employees should trust their leader.
When an employee trusts you as their leader, they feel part of your mission, share your passion and are motivated to do their best. As a result, your employees feel proud to work for your company and spread positive messages about it to their social circle.
At my firm, we give our staff the freedom to go about projects in their own way. They might not accomplish everything exactly as I would like them to but they will still get the job done with their own flair and style. This shows I trust their unique skills, abilities and talents.
How can you show your team you trust them?
#2: Have Personal Conversations With Them. Often!
Employees spend a lot of time at work. In some cases, they spend more hours working in the office than with their families. So in that way, you are their family.
Get to know them better. Ask about their work progress, their accomplishments, big wins or even complaints. And also make an effort to get to know your staff on a personal level.
I make it a practice to sit down with my employees and engage in one-on-one conversation. I’m genuinely interested in knowing more about them and what’s happening in their lives, like Jessica’s recovery from surgery and Grace’s little daughter’s school progress.
You can have these talks in your office, in the break room or even at a coffee shop down the street. It doesn’t matter where or when, but what’s important is you’re taking the initiative to create and nurture the connection.
#3: Encourage Personal-Growth
When you become the catalyst for your teams personal-growth, they can’t help but show up more powerfully in their social life, giving them a great reason to share their enthusiasm and gratitude for your company.
We recently brought in a female empowerment speaker to help motivate the women at our office. I also paid for one on one sessions with the expert for some of the women that wanted additional help. In another instance, we brought in a sales coach to train the staff for a few months.
As a result of these initiatives, our staff is motivated and better prepared to grow the business as a team. It’s a great feeling when the whole crew operates as one cohesive unit.
Today some companies even support continued education or classes for their employees outside of the workplace to enhance personal growth.
My advice if you’re growing your team and investing in great talent: it’s alright if you’re unable to financially support your employees’ self-improvement but be flexible and explore other ways that can add value to your employees’ contribution.
#4: Support Employee Vacation Time. Handsomely, If Possible.
As an attorney, I’m sure you’re no stranger to work burnout. The long hours at the office, endless meetings, and piles of documentation are a common feature. Often, your employees are also helping you steer your ship putting extra hours.
The likely consequence of employee burnout out can lead to low energy and depleted motivation. When not addressed in a timely manner, your staff’s productivity and morale are adversely impacted.
As I mentioned earlier, your employees already spend a good one-third or sometimes even two-thirds of their daily time at the office. It’s important they’re recognized for their efforts and offered time to spend with their families.
At our firm, the average vacation time is 2-3 weeks and some of the senior staff take off for months at a time. At other times, people can leave early if they need to and time flexibility is really appreciated at our office.
Now you might say, “Wait a minute, but that seems counterintuitive to let my employees go on long holidays while expecting them to work long hours”
From my experience, I can confidently say that generously rewarding my employees with vacation time has actually helped me get more productivity from my employees and without them getting burnt out.
#5: Host Fun Activities
People love having fun.
Maybe even more than having fun, people love sharing stories about how they had fun with their friends and followers.
So when you host fun activities, you’re going to create a memorable experience together as a team that they’ll want to share with people they know and/or on social media (like my employees did with our cooking competition).
Bottom line: You want to give your employees a reason to talk about you and your company in a positive way. Everyone talks about their job, it’s just a matter of if it’s positive or negative.
I hope these tips help you turn your employees into raving fans and loyal advocates like they’ve been able to do for our firm.
Do you consider your employees to be advocates for your business? If so, what are some of the ways you help inspire them to spread the word?