Employee empowerment. While many companies around the world claim to empower their employees on a daily basis, many times, their actions don’t support their claims. Could it be that, in 2016, companies still don’t understand the value of employee engagement? It seems so. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that other priorities like customers, sales, profits and, well, money, are important. After all, without profits, most companies won’t be able to keep their employees around, right? But, maybe they should be looking at it the other way around: without their employees, they can’t do business. From what I can see, Adobe, recently valued at $4 billion, seems to have figured out that, happy “everyday” employees make the best brand ambassadors.
It’s the every day employee who is trusted most—in some cases, twice as much as the CEO. – Cory Edwards
It wasn’t until 2013 that Adobe fully realized how much impact their 11,000 worldwide employees had. Upon viewing the results of the Edelman Trust Barometer, a company that measures trust in business, Cory Edwards, head of Adobe’s Social Business Center of Excellence, realized that everyday employees were trusted far more than CEOs. Think about it. If a mid-level employee is raving about the company they work for, wouldn’t you trust their word more than the CEO who is making six or seven figures?
So, now that Adobe has figured out that employee empowerment is the way to go, how are they making it work? Well, the first thing they do is provide proper training to employees who wish to serve as brand ambassadors through their Adobe Social Shift Training, which was developed by the Social Media Centre of Excellence and funded through an internal grant. It’s one thing to allow employees the power to use their social media accounts to advocate for the company, but, unless they are comfortable with the idea, the impact may not be as great. A year after its inception in 2013, nearly 30% of Adobe’s employees had taken the Social Shift Training program.
Another way that Adobe has made it simple for its employee to use social media to advocate for the company, is through the hashtag #adobelife. Employees are encouraged to use the hashtag when posting about Adobe or attending company events; this is an excellent way to create external brand recognition as well as serve as a great way for employees to track all posts using the hashtag. As a result, employees across the company can feel a sense of pride that they are trusted enough to spread the word about the company. Adobe has even gone as far as to offer incentives for employees who use #adobelife in their posts.
As you can see in the video below, you can’t simply come up with a hashtag and hope that employees come up with something fun to post about. You have to actually create events that employees want to attend. From workout classes and workshops, to philanthropic excursions, Adobe employees have a lot to share with the world.
Lessons for Others
Adobe has found a way to empower its employees beyond the work that they were hired to do for the company. It doesn’t matter that they might not be on the social media team– they still have an important voice. The way that Adobe has a) recognized this and b) provided their employees with training and tools to feel comfortable sharing their experiences with the company on social media is the perfect example of how employee empowerment is a win-win: the employees are happy that they’re valued and, in turn, Adobe has employees that are willing to work hard and advocate for them. #adobelife looks pretty good to me.
Adobe’s Social Media Pages:
Name of Organization Contact: Cory Edwards, head of Adobe’s Social Business Center of Excellence
Authored by: AshleyMc
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