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The Pyramid of Employee Influence [Podcast]

By Emily Neal28/09/2022November 14th, 2022No Comments8 min read

[Episode Nineteen of ‘The Employee Advocacy and Influence Podcast] 🎧👇

The Pyramid of Employee Influence

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.


Welcome to this episode of the Employee Advocacy and Influence podcast. My name is Bradley Keenan and I am the Founder and CEO of the Employee Advocacy Platform – DSMN8.

And in today’s episode, we are going to be talking about a concept called the pyramid of influence. 

Now, this is somewhat visual. So for people watching us on YouTube, we’ll put it up on screen. But if you’re listening on Spotify or any other podcast platform, then maybe go to look in the resources and find it. But I’m going to do my best to describe it verbally for you as well. 

Do You Need 100% of Employees in Your Advocacy Program?

So before I go onto the concepts, we’ll just talk about one of the common misconceptions that comes with an Employee Advocacy program, and that is that in order to run an Advocacy program, you need 100% of your employees using it, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

So the reason this misconception exists is that for most pieces of technology to involve employees, you do need everybody using it. Otherwise it becomes useless. If it was something like Workday or an internal communications program, you really want everyone there so it becomes your default way of communicating with your employees. 

However, with an Employee Advocacy program, it’s a tool that should be used by strategic people inside your organization. 

The Pyramid of Employee Influence

The Pyramid of Employee Influence

So that’s where we got into this idea of creating this concept called the pyramid of influence

Now, if you think about a pyramid and at the top of that pyramid, you have your highly engaged employees. So it’s a peak of a pyramid and inside that group, you have people like your CEO, your C-suite executives, high performing salespeople, and people have a big invested interest in company success. So they would be considered your highly engaged. 

Then your next level down would be your, we call it willing but busy. So essentially what this means is sales teams, leadership, people who are inside your organization. It’s their career. They’ve been there a long time. They care about the company, but they’re busy doing their day job, so they’re willing to participate in your Advocacy program. 

And then the next level down, which is really the final type of group for your Employee Advocacy program, is the motivated to impress. So this could be again, sales individuals. It could be an intern that’s just joined the organization. Anybody that’s looking to demonstrate to the company that they are on board, they want to help communicate the message of the organization. 

So you have your highly engaged individuals, you have your willing but busy, and then you have your motivated to impress. And they are your 3 pillars of what groups of people are ideal for your Advocacy program. 

However, there’s two other levels, and I’m going to, although we’re essentially saying these aren’t suitable for your Employee Advocacy program, I think it’s worth going through them because it would help you spot them. 

So the next level down is what we call curious, but not looking for more work. So when you launch your program, you will get a spike of people who will sign up, especially if you have something like single sign on. So it’s super easy for somebody to become part of the program. They’ll come in, they’ll look around, they’ll see what this is about. But they’re ultimately not looking to have any more tasks in their week, and they just want to do their job and go home and there’s nothing wrong with that. And they are people that will create that spike. They will leave. They’re very difficult to re-engage without gamification. I know I speak about this a lot.

And then the group below that is your simply not engaged employees. So they are the people that hate their job, that they’re leaving, they don’t want more work, etc., etc. and there is no value in you spending your time trying to convince them to become part of your Advocacy program. It’s a complete waste of your time. 

Which Employees To Include In Your Advocacy Program?

So as you think about this pyramid, the irony in this is that the higher up the pyramid you get, the more influence you get, the less likely it is that somebody is going to participate in an Employee Advocacy program. 

And that is a big problem if you are running an Employee Advocacy program, but it’s not the end of the world. So the reason why I say this isn’t to scare people off. It’s to give people the appreciation that what you need to do is to essentially enable those people to become part of your program. 

Make It Easy for Employees To Engage

Now, let’s say you use technology, actually, let’s say you don’t use technology for this. You need to consider how easy you make it for people to interact with your content and to share it. So if you’re running a manual process and you’re running an Employee Advocacy program, which is, you know, done through SharePoint folders and you’re dropping content in libraries, etc., then the time it takes somebody to go and find that content, the more time it takes for them to piece the content together themselves, the less likely it is that they’re going to become a user that comes back time and time again. 

So you have to make it super, super simple. Even things like automatically curating content for users, if you can do that, that’s going to make a huge difference in them essentially becoming advocates time and time again. 

So the key takeaway in this is focus on making your Employee Advocacy program simple and easy to use. You don’t need people to spend hours and hours inside your program. In fact, that’s the opposite of what you want. You want people to come in, find the content that’s relevant to them and share it. 

And the other key takeaway is don’t waste your time trying to convert the curious, but not looking for more work people and the not engaged people. It’s a complete waste of your time. And the other thing that comes with that is if somebody is not engaged or they’re not looking for more work, then the probability is that they haven’t invested a huge amount of work in their own social following. So their audience is going to be of little to no value to you anyway.

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Emily Neal

SEO and Content Specialist at DSMN8. Emily has 10 years experience blogging, and is a pro at Pinterest Marketing, reaching 1 million monthly views. She’s all about empowering employees to grow their personal brands and become influencers.