Where did all start for me?
About 16 months ago, I saw a job post on Facebook from a university friend Johanna, and started doing research about this company called Smarp and Employee Advocacy. 5 minutes in: oh, this is neat. There is NO marketer out there who wouldn't want to tap into that kind of reach possessed by employees. What about conversions? See the first paragraph. The very next question that came to my mind was: if I worked for a company, would I be comfortable sharing company news to my Facebook (the only network where I was active back then)?
What's the deal?
Oddly enough, it was that brief moment of doubt that captivated me about the whole Employee Advocacy scene. Platforms like Smarp are not your typical marketing tools which are primarily used by the marketing department - this one is to be used by, ideally, everyone in an organization, on an almost personal level. If a person who already sees the massive value of EA concept is still not 100% sure whether he would walk the talk, and you multiply that by tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands...then you have the classic challenge of getting organizational buy-in.
Man this is exciting!
You see, I was (still am) majoring in a field called Strategy at the time. And that was fresh after two other studies (one in engineering, one in business) where I thought I would finally have a chance to learn to synthesize what I learnt from those two disciplines. Well, that turned out to be true, as the program provided a lot of courses, toolkits and case studies in innovation, change and strategic management. I mean, it was great. We studied failures, successes and all those in between. We were given the frameworks to dissect situations, identify pain points, gather data and design (theoretically) solid solutions.
What I noticed though: at the end of the day, if you are a change agent and you don't have people buying into your vision, no strategic implementation is going to work. IMHO, buy-in should involve:
- Feeling one's own input is encouraged and facilitated, particularly in the early phase of strategy making
- Being able to relate to the changes to come
- Understanding how it would align with one's own processes or ways of working
- Expecting results and knowing that they will be built upon in iterations to achieve the ideal outcome in the foreseeable future
If you made it this far and like what you are reading, you can like, comment or PM me on LinkedIn. Rest assured, I don't have all the pieces of the puzzle. But I can try to lay out my thinking, experience and learning bit by bit. Management theories have definitely formed the outer frames (through which I look at organizational phenomena), but more importantly, the inner frames have been shaped by the incredible journey where I work with the amazing Smarp clients, particularly the program managers, to implement Employee Advocacy initiatives in their own organizations.
I want to share with you a couple of practical frameworks, some thoughts on data-driven insights and the sustainability of an EA program. I will also be asking you some tough (to me) questions which I don't have satisfying answers to yet. None of these will be about the universal truth, but to inspire and facilitate re-thinking and dialogues.
Let me know what you think!