In the world of the social Web, product recommendations by individuals seems to be gaining more credibility that those by the product producers. But do employees tend to recommend the products that their company produces? This is a question that Matt Brown asks in the Forrester report, Do Your Employees Advocate For Your Company? It would seem that this should be in their best interest.
However, Matt found that 49% of information workers are detractors, and only 27% were promoters, however in North America, workers are three times as likely to advocate as European workers. We could speculate about the reasons for this geographic variation. Canada had the best scores in our survey, France the worst. I wonder what the French Canadians do?
There was another interesting finding that relates more to the focus of this blog. Forrester found that, “advocacy correlates with work technology attitudes and behaviors in North America. This means employees who are optimistic about technology and well-equipped with information and communications technology (ICT) are more likely to be net advocates than those who are not.”
So what can companies do to improve their employees’ advocacy? Josh Bernoff addresses this in his post, How many of your employees love your products? (And why it matters). He suggests that you could empower people. In fact workers who use social media are among the most positive. 48% would strongly recommend a company's products and services and only 22% were detractors, for a net score of 26% -- among the highest of the groups they surveyed.
So get employees engaged in social media both on the Web and within the enterprise. This encouragement to be engaged in product discussions should have a positive impact on what employees will say. It shows that the company trusts them. Part of this is providing the technology that enables these discussions and the policy that permits the use of this technology in an open way. Restrictions will only promote resentment. I was pleased to receive a review copy of this report and there is much more within it to help formulate policies to promote employee advocacy.