[Episode Twenty-Eight of ‘The Employee Advocacy and Influence Podcast] 🎧👇
How Regulated Industries are Leveraging Employee Advocacy
Organizations all over the world in every sector are driving strategic competitive advantage by scaling the impact of their employees’ voices… and now YOU can too! As we delve beyond the why and get straight to the how so that you can put employee-driven growth at the heart of your organization.
Hosted by employee advocacy practitioner and CEO of DSMN8, Bradley Keenan.
In this episode, Bradley discusses employee advocacy in regulated industries, the common misconception that employee advocacy can’t work for companies within regulated industries, and outlines the features and processes needed to make it a success, no matter which industry you’re in.
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Employee Advocacy and Influence podcast.
My name is Bradley Keenan. I am founder and CEO of the Employee Advocacy Platform – DSMN8.
In this week’s episode, we are going to be talking about a few considerations when running an Employee Advocacy program in a regulated industry.
The Choice to Be Made in Regulated Industries
So, I would say that probably about 20% of our clients work in some kind of regulated industry.
So whether they’re in pharmaceuticals, which is probably the most common, but also things like oil and gas and law and legal, where obviously things need to be 100% accurate if you’re going to post them on to social.
And for many people, when we first speak to prospective clients, if they’re in a regulated industry, that can almost be the initial objection when we say, hey, we run an Employee Advocacy program, let’s talk. They say, Yeah, we’re not allowed to get our employees to post on social because we’re in a regulated industry.
And when you actually unpack that and you work out why that is, the biggest reason is that they don’t want employees sharing inaccurate information on social that hasn’t been approved by legal and could put them into hot water.
Now, obviously, they can either do one of two things. They can either never post to social ever, which is obviously going to be damaging to their ability for them to communicate with their prospective clients, especially in the world that we live in. Or they can look at a way to manage that process so that the biggest risk factor of somebody saying the wrong thing is essentially removed.
Marketing in a Regulated Industry? Listen Up!
So if you are if you’re going to run an Employee Advocacy program in a regulated industry, the most important thing that you have is two things kind of in the same same thing, which is making sure people say the correct information, and that starts with having some kind of process.
That means that you as a marketer can create content that has a workflow that can be pushed through into your legal counsel to say, Yeah, that’s okay, or no, that’s not okay.
Now, obviously, legal counsels are very time-poor, so that needs to be something that’s relatively straightforward for them to do. And often that means just planning way in advance of the content you’re going to put out so that there’s plenty of time for them to review that content. And that might mean that you start producing content 3 months prior to running an Employee Advocacy program, but obviously, that’s going to be on a case-by-case basis.
But there’s no point in running a process to get legal to approve something if once you pass it to the employee, they completely disregard it and they change all of the copy.
So one of the things you need to make sure you have as part of your employee advocacy program is the ability to log post copy so that only the copy that’s been approved by legal can be shared by your employees. And that has its limitations because obviously if somebody wanted to edit that themselves, then technically they could do that once they shared a piece of content. But really most people aren’t going to do that. And if you build that into your training, then people are going to understand that if the copy has been written for them, that that needs to be kept in the same way as it was when it was produced.
Essential Employee Advocacy Tools for Regulated Industries
Then the next feature that is important is the ability to distribute content in a smart way, and that comes in 2 components.
So firstly, it’s distributing content to people where the content is relevant to their job, and that comes in either creating topics inside a platform or teams and groups.
So you may say that this webinar is for our Asia-Pacific region, and we only want people in our Asia-Pacific region to share it because it may look strange if they don’t.
So that’s the first piece, the distribution piece, and then there’s a time component to distributing in that content as well.
So when people share the content, we want them to share it at the right time.
And the right time based on their time zone is one consideration.
And then also so that people in the same team aren’t sharing the same content at the same time.
So if you and I both work in the sales team and we operate in a similar industry, then if I share a piece of content that the company’s created, ideally you and I share it slightly different time and even just spacing that out over a few hours makes a huge difference.
Anybody who’s scrolled through LinkedIn realizes how much content there is there.
So just by spreading that out means we’re not going to see the same things over and over again.
How to Maximize Your Output in Regulated Industries
So having the post copy is one thing, but do you have enough content?
So if you are already producing content, then you need to look at how much content you’re producing and is that enough to run an Employee Advocacy program? And the nice thing about producing content inside a regulated industry is those same processes that we just spoke about where we have legal check them, then the probability is that you’re already going through that process to produce the content.
Now let’s say you put together a white paper and that white paper is about some kind of change in your industry or some kind of news that you’re reporting on, or it might be some kind of analytics or what have you. Once that’s produced, then you already have lots of legally approved copy that you can use.
So if you take that blog post and you break it down into its individual parts, then what you’re going to be left with is graphs, statistics, quotes and all of these things that by themselves, when you actually break them down into their components, those components can be used as social posts just supporting an image. It could be taking that content itself and making it into some kind of image.
However you do it, that content is already being produced by legal. So as you are going through that process of running an Employee Advocacy program in a regulated industry, just try to be smart about how you use the resource of your legal department.
How to Get Buy-In in Regulated Industries
And I would say that the final point in running an Advocacy program is, again, specifically in a regulated industry, is that there’s going to be more questions around the process that you’re building.
So I would involve people earlier in that process. So if I am bringing an Employee Advocacy platform in to talk about working with us, make sure that all of the content presentations have all been built around doing this in a regulated industry and invite people into the company that could potentially be bottlenecks further down the line.
Because if it looks like the legal component hasn’t been the core consideration for you, as you go through that process, then you’re likely to be hit with resistance further down the line.
So bring that forward and if you do all of those things, then an Employee Advocacy program pretty much should run exactly the same way as it would in any other company just with those additional steps to make sure that you’re protected as a program leader.