3 Bold Employee Advocacy Predictions for 2017

white phone.png December 23, 2016 / Mikael Lauharanta

The year 2016 is almost in the books so it’s time to see if the predictions I made last year were even close, and of course, look into the good old crystal ball again.

Last year I predicted that more and more unexpected industries would find their own Employee Advocacy angle. We did indeed see some new interesting entrants to the Employee Advocacy space, but even more than just welcoming new industries, we were glad to notice all the new angles our clients took to Employee Advocacy.

New angles for Employee Advocacy

Some of our clients approached Employee Advocacy purely from a numbers’ perspective and were happy to upscale their initiative when they saw that they were able to push the cost per lead down to a predetermined level. Meanwhile, others embraced our new internal communication features and functionalities and pretty much replaced their outdated intranets with the Smarp app to make information sharing more fun and engaging for their employees.

Some of our clients in the more regulated industries also found their Employee Advocacy niche in the various compliance features in order to take a controlled step into the world of social media and reap the benefits of social business, while also making sure they adhere to the industry regulations.

I also predicted (and hoped) that the focus of Employee Advocacy would move from company benefits towards the individual benefits of participating employees and away from describing employees as your “amplifiers” or “a new marketing channel”. Companies that are stuck to this mindset both on the software provider and the buyer side have understandably received some backlash and will have to rethink their positioning and value proposition both internally and externally in order to stay competitive.

Finally, I forecasted that Employee Advocacy would tackle declining employee engagement – according to Gallup, only 13% of employees are engaged at work globally. Making your employees a key part of your communications strategy, keeping them informed, and involving them in sourcing and sharing content is a great starting point for this change. We received some very encouraging results in polls among our clients, which showed that having an Employee Advocacy program improves the knowledge of employees and makes them feel part of something bigger.

Related: Employee Advocacy Myths Revisited

Next year’s three big trends

For my 2017 predictions, I’m going to start off bold and say that

  1. In 2017, there will be more mobile than desktop users in Employee Advocacy programs. We are witnessing crazy growth in mobile adoption and usage of our platform, and I feel like this industry is quickly moving towards a mobile-only experience.
  2. Building on the previous prediction, Employee Advocacy software, apps, and the “mobile intranet” mindset will truly transform the way companies communicate with their employees and the rest of the world. We’re already changing the game for some of our clients who could previously only reach their employees via text messages(!) When we add the interactional aspect of Employee Advocacy into the equation, with employees having a say what and how companies communicate externally, we are taking another huge step towards true human-to-human communication.
  3. Employee Advocacy will become a natural part of digital strategies, much like content marketing currently is. By utilizing the rich data and insights companies get from an Employee Advocacy program, companies can truly shape and optimize their communication strategies like never before together with their strongest asset: employees.

These are my Employee Advocacy predictions for the year 2017. Even more than I want to see these predictions come true, I hope that the Employee Advocacy space will keep evolving like it has in the previous years. I truly believe we are onto something important in trying to create a world where all employees are well informed, engaged, and sharing their knowledge both internally and externally. Last but definitely not least, I’m excited to hear your feedback and especially what you think 2017 has in store for Employee Advocacy!

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