We have applied customer relationship management (CRM) concepts to almost all kinds of audiences – donors, fans, prospects and influencers. Yet, why do companies have not yet seen a proliferation of “ERM” –Employee Relationships Management. Programs that focus on employee enablement – especially when both the knowledge of the company and the CRM/integrated marketing technology is already deployed and is in use?

One of the major factors in this untapped opportunity is that most employees does not have any idea or a clear understanding of what they can or should share on behalf of the brand. As a result, most will stay quiet.

A quick manner to measure the impact to your business is to assess the variance or differences between the collective reach of your employees on social media networks and the number of fans and followers on your branded corporate pages. That channel is your opportunity as every professional post or pin by an employee is an opportunity to connect people back to your corporate pages.

A purposeful approach in empowering employee must be respectful of everyone’s personal brand and voice. Forcing people to stiffly spot the company catch line will not only backfire in terms of employee loyalty, it will be might as well as a turn off for readers. The engagement must be authentic in order for it to resonate.

Marketers who want employee engagement must develop a repeatable and respectful plan for advocacy:

  • Cross-Functional Reach – While sales, marketing and service teams often advocate for the business as part of their job descriptions, employees across the organization can also be incentivized to participate. Making these activities a win-win for the employee and the employer is key to participation.
  • Training – Most employees would be happy to support a respectful program, but truly do not know what to say. Setting clear boundaries and sharing sample messaging is a start, but also be explicit about the “how to” aspects. Encourage employees to make the message personal – and thus of higher impact – by translating the corporate message into their own voice.
  • Culture of Mutual Respect – Employees who cannot be trusted with confidential information also can’t be expected to fully engage in any innovation or forward-thinking programs. If this is the case for your organization, then your culture may not be a fit for employee engagement.

Creating active and visible employees may give some managers pause. Altimer recommends encouraging personal brand building anyway, claiming the risk is low that top talent will be poached. The opposite is usually true, the report says. Employees build a sense of pride and connectedness, and become invested in the company success.