How can one of the world’s largest banks execute an effective employee advocacy program? I’ve spoken to Camila Romuld of HSBC to find out!

Tell us about HSBC and what you do there, please.

HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations. We serve more than 45 million customers through four global businesses. Our network covers 71 countries and territories in Europe, Asia and Middle East and Africa, South America and Latin America. Then we have around four and a half thousand offices worldwide.

I am responsible for the global strategy planning and execution for social media in two of our global businesses. So I look after commercial banking and global banking and markets, more the B2B side of HSBC. Today, HSBC is active on social media in over 20 countries across the globe. .

What prompted HSBC to launch an employee advocacy program?

I can say from two different perspectives. So from a marketing perspective, there were three points. One was to dismiss the perception that relationship managers are solely operational and not capable of having more strategic and high-level conversations. Second, we really want to increase the HSBC brand familiarity and increase familiarity across products, building relationships with prospects and current clients. Third, from the HR perspective, is to gain understanding of how employees are sharing content and then how it impacts hiring across various target markets and functions.

Were there any particular problems you were looking to solve?

Well, you always have problems to solve. So I think two main points were; one to help to build our employee social media profiles. So then show the power of social media and how it can help on a day-to-day execution of their jobs. The second one is to leverage our content with our employees through a smart platform without having to spend the time and the money to build this platform. So LinkedIn Elevate came in to make us much more efficient and to help us to leverage the right content to the right employees in a very user-friendly platform.

What types of content do you distribute to employees?

We have a wide range of content, a mix of HSBC content that is produced by HSBC and this type of content comes from the marketing, from the business, HR or corporate comms areas or non-HSBC content that we source from, let’s say, trusted sources of content such as Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the Economist and everything else. The mix between HSBC and non-HSBC content is what we want as I don’t think our employees should be only taking about HSBC products and content. But we should also show current and the relevant industry news to show to our network that we are up to what’s going on in the world.

Our most engaging pieces may vary depending on what these employees are from. I think it’s worth mentioning that we have defined content topics so each article is allocated to a topic so employees subscribe the top two topics they’re interested in. So basically they’re only fed with information they are looking for.

What are the benefits to HSBC and to employees in this program?

From the perspective of HSBC, our relationship managers are building the networks faster. The HSBC company page has been attaining more followers and more prospective hires are applying for jobs than previously. Then we also asked them (global teams) about sales leads if they had any. Three main comments were; they have noticed that they receive interaction from potential vendors, stakeholders which may be useful down the track. Someone else said that no sales leads yet, however he says it has helped HSBC out in the market among my connections and also to increase engagement within their networks.

Do you find that employees who are active members of this program are the more engaged employees?

Definitely more engaged. Absolutely more informed and then the fact that there’s an app, it helps a lot as people start looking for new content during their early commuting hours which is great. It’s a one stop shop for all the content that we believe they are looking for and they are keen to share with the network so it has worked really well.

How do you measure success and can you share your results?

We have three initial points there we set up to decide on how we’re measuring success. One was connecting audiences and communicating more efficiently within our network. The second one was to retain prospecting clients and unlock new business opportunities and the third one was to increase HSBC visibility and credibility. So far the results have been amazing. We have seen a huge spike on the amount of impressions. Impressions is how many people have seen the content that has been shared. Engagement and the content being shared by our employees has been great, too.

So to give you a bit of some numbers, the numbers of impressions mean the content being shared went from just over 1,600 to over 5,000 pieces of content which means the average employee advocacy user drives 3 times more impressions with Elevate than without it. When it comes down to engagement, our engagement rates went from an average of 37 every month to 80 which basically show us that the average employee user drives two times more engagement than a non-Elevate employee.

The amount of content being shared by our employees on LinkedIn, they went from 0.8% to an amazing 7.7%. This means that on average Elevate user shares content eight times more than a non-Elevate user. So you can see that the number speak for themselves and these are great results.

Can you tie back this success to actual ROI?

The Elevate team is pretty good and gave us some amazing reports which allow us to give a bit of insight to the actual ROI. So the best for it is to use an engagement rate. Assuming that $3 is the cost for engagement, I can say that in June alone, we had the media value of $25,000 and this is massive because we only have 20% of the licenses allocated and I’m hoping that by December once we have allocated all the remaining licenses, now we’re going to see a significant jump on the media value with employee advocacy.

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About Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO at Link Humans, a social and digital marketing agency.

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