How High-Growth Tech Companies Can Fuse Advocacy With Communication
High-growth tech companies have it made when it comes to employee engagement—the people who join these teams are often early in their careers, eager, focused and are more inclined to take a positive stance towards their employers compared to those in other industries.
That said, employers need to take proactive measures to preserve this mindset and create internal processes that enable leaders to tap into enthusiasm while understanding how these attitudes might evolve alongside company growth and career progression.
The Early-Growth Stage
Early-stage companies approaching the “hockey stick” growth phase are actually in the perfect position to develop a strong foundation for success built on a culture of communication.
If companies reach these phases of growth and aren’t prepared to sustain them, it’s likely that existing processes will break down—hence the importance of creating a plan ahead of time with a strategy in mind for how it scales alongside company growth.
Building a Strong Framework for Communication
Although technology teams are perfectly fit for cultivating strong levels of engagement, remember that managing communication within fast-growing companies isn’t always an easy task.
Failure to organize your internal comms strategy before entering growth phases could lead to:
Misalignment Among Your Organization
During times of growth, employees need access to as much information as possible. They’ll want to be kept in the loop with what’s going on from an internal perspective and given context for how it may affect them down the line. Without this level of communication, rumors can begin to spread and create a disengaged or unsettled workforce.
Confusion of Responsibilities
Smaller teams have agility on their side. Leaders have a constant pulse on the performance of other teams and where individuals are tracking towards goals, allowing managers identify missteps and quickly right the ship.
As companies experience periods of growth, sometimes doubling or tripling size in a short timeframe, this level of visibility is lost, resulting in employees that suddenly have less guidance and often lose sight of their role within the organization—especially as job responsibilities are adjusted given new roles.
Decentralized Flow of Information
Professionals within any team need access to information in a centralized location and on a regular basis—this is a key component to maintaining confidence among your employees as workplace dynamics shift. As team makeups shift alongside growth, ensure there are regular checkpoints in place to evaluate internal functions built under a different set of needs. Doing so will prevent inefficient processes from sticking around too long and hindering effectiveness.
How to Make the Most of a Tech-Focused Community
Employers with a purposeful and customized communication strategy cultivate higher levels of engagement among employees, more effective productivity and reduced turnover—on the other hand, around $37 billion is lost annually due to miscommunication.
Tech companies are in an ideal position to establish strong yet agile communication goals as a result of this engagement—employees are more willing to participate in and drive forward company initiatives. Additionally, most people who join tech companies at the startup level do so because they’re passionate about the industry and have a technology-focused mindset.
Employers can use this to their advantage by bringing in best-in-class tech solutions without having to worry as much about their employees’ ability to adapt to new software or incorporate it into their daily routine—building technology that makes life easier is often a big driver behind why people join the space.
Not only do employees expect smart, intuitive technology to be a natural part of their workflow, but failure to provide the right technology could lead to dissatisfaction and a general disconnect between the company’s mission and internal processes.
At the same time, it’s worth noting that implementing the right technology means that you can also successfully gather more important employee data about how your company is performing. High-growth tech companies can be particularly skilled at using this data to make important decisions about resource allocation, staff retention and productivity.
Combining Employee Advocacy & Communication
In today’s communication-first environment, leading your company towards sustainable success means constantly updating and tweaking collaboration strategies to prepare for periods of growth.
Weaving elements of employee advocacy into your overall communication strategy from the beginning is paramount to a successful program with a company-wide adoption rate.
Stronger Social Presence
Leveraging employees as brand advocates and enabling them to share brand messaging with their broader networks often leads to positive word-of-mouth marketing—which, in turn, positions your business as authentic, trustworthy and educational.
In fact, content shared by employees gets up to 8x more engagement than content shared across brand channels, and it’s shared 25x as frequently.
When employees share industry or company content to their social networks, they’re immediately seen as thought-leaders looking to facilitate conversation and ideas, rather than just push a sale.
34.9% of people are more likely to buy from a sales representative who shares industry news and helpful content on social media. Research also shows that leads acquired through employee advocacy efforts can convert up to 7x more often than leads from other platforms.
Tying your internal processes to the impact it has on external results and profitability is what sets tech companies that continue to innovate and grow, apart from those that end up hitting a wall with no clear path forward.
Highly Qualified Hires
As the technology industry grows fiercely competitive every day, access to high-quality talent is harder to come by—using your employees as an extension of your talent team can help to compensate for this though, in a very big way.
The window for acquiring new talent in the tech space is small. Between attracting the candidate, evaluating the potential fit both from a skill and culture perspective, agreeing on salary and benefits and securing their position on the team, there are many places for a wrench to get thrown in the middle of the process.
However, when you encourage employees to leverage their social networks for sharing open jobs, you not only help them develop their presence in tech’s small but mighty community, you also optimize the likelihood of attracting more qualified candidates that ultimately increase retention.
So, what are some of the most important strategies for fusing internal communication with employee advocacy before taking of into high-growth stages?
Use the Right Tools
In order to achieve success with your communication and advocacy strategy, you’ll need the right tools in place to support your efforts and improve connectivity at all levels of the organization. However, simply identifying and implementing those tools isn’t enough—you need to reinforce processes from the top down, meaning entry-level employees are using the same platforms as the C-Suite.
This is especially important in the tech space, where it’s more important than ever to reduce turnover given the competitive nature of the market. It also helps set the tone for alignment among management when deploying new processes to the rest of the team—in fact, the TINYPulse Tech Industry Report found that employees believed the cohesiveness of their management team to have decreased over the last year.
Nothing presents a unified front more than leaders who hold themselves to the same standards and abide by the same processes as what’s expected of the rest of the company.
Keep the Company Mission in Clear View
While growth typically indicates change, your overall goals, values and mission should ideally remain constant. People who join growing companies are prepared to pivot when needed, but your mission should be used as the guiding light through those phases in order to keep employees focused.
One way to maintain this focus is to be open and transparent about the underlying ambitions of the business. If not, employees will struggle to intrinsically understand the company’s vision and will subsequently have a diffcult time connecting with the team and role within the organization.
Research done by Gallup indicates that only 4 in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that the mission or purpose of their company makes them feel their job is important—meaning there’s a clear disconnect between employees’ understanding of their company’s identity and how it relates to business health.
This same research indicates that a 10% improvement in employees’ connection with the mission or purpose of their organization would result in an 8.1% decrease in turnover and a 4.4% increase in profitability.
One strategy to keep your team connected to the company’s mission is to create a culture of communication that’s agnostic of job title or level of seniority. It’s also important for Brand teams to coach their peers on how to speak about the company and communicate messaging that’s consistent with brand voice.
Remember to segment the dissemination of information wherever possible. While internal announcements should be made at a company-wide level, thought-leadership content should be surfaced strategically in order increase relevance and optimize the likelihood of employees taking a certain desired action.
Having this level of insight will also identify teams or individuals who aren’t interacting with company content, allowing HR to get ahead of those disengaged employees and mitigate potential turnover.
According to Gallup’s report:
Internal communications teams should identify any business units lacking a strong connection with the organization’s identity. These units are susceptible to risk, whether it be turnover, low productivity, or compliance or customer service problems. Groups within the organization that do not understand the company’s purpose, do not deliver on its brand or fail to embody the culture every day should be identified. In addition, there should be targeted communication to these employees. To succeed collectively, the entire organization needs to be united and committed to one identity.
While each of your teams should still have access to the same features and generally use the tool in the same way, grouping employees will significantly impact performance and future success.
Make Communication Central to Company Culture
With the right software in place, it’s relatively easy to create team cohesion around upcoming initiatives and weave in collaboration as a more natural part of the workflow. By outlining when and how employees should expect updates like Marketing campaign launches, big internal announcements, upcoming Sales tradeshows or industry events, each department is aligned with one another’s goals to increase performance across the organization.
The easier it is for employees to stay on top of developments—both internally within your company and externally within your industry—the less likely it is that your employees will feel overwhelmed or confused by the evolutions happening in your organization.
Measure the Effectiveness of Internal Comms
Finally, for any employee communication strategy to be successful, businesses need to measure the program’s performance. By determining a set of metrics to track from the inception of your strategy, along with a cadence for how often you’ll review them, measuring the ROI of these initiatives in the future becomes much more realistic.
According to research, 86% of organizations believe that improving their “People Analytics” was a crucial element in their long-term success. The right technology gives you insight into whether or not your employee advocacy platform is performing as you expected, giving you insight into shares, clicks, engagement, followers and more.
Fusing employee advocacy and internal communication can be a very natural process for growing teams, so long as the foundation is set properly. The key is to establish elements that meet your team’s current state, with an understanding of how those elements might shift as your company scales.
By incorporating these elements, you’ll be prepared to support company growth in the competitive tech market, and eventually, watch performance start to soar.
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