1 in 5 employees are digital activists

One in five employees regularly draw visibility to their workplace, defend their employers and act as advocates both on and offline according to a recent study by Weber Shandwick.

‘Employee activism’ – as it is termed in the report – stems from the rise of digital and social activity and has been coined as a ‘rising social movement’ by Weber Shandwick.

The survey titled: Employees Rising: Seizing the Opportunity in Employee Activism, spoke to 2,300 employees in India and worldwide and looks at the on and offline activity of ‘engaged’ employees. It specifically highlights the increased activity and ‘passion’ seen in Asian Pacific employees. For example, 59% of Asian Pacific employees post on social media about their employers compared to just 50% elsewhere.

The report also states that 39% have shared praise or positive comments online about an employee, while 45% have across Asia Pacific.

This ‘movement’ has been marked as an ‘enormous opportunity’ for businesses, providing employers the chance to engage and potentially capitalise from their supporters. But equally, if ignored could also do damage to a company. For example, 16% of employees have shared criticism or negative comments about their employer, with Asia Pacific increasing slightly at 19%.

As well as 20% of Asian Pacific employees admitting to posting something about their employer on social media that they regret – a large difference to only 14% for the overall market.

This extra activity could be due to ineffective internal communications. Only 4 in 10 employees can describe what their employer does (42%) or what its goals are (37%), with Asia Pacific dropping to 32% and 29%.

As well as Asia Pacific employers being more active themselves, with 40% encouraging employees to use social media and to share company news and information, compared to 33% in the overall market. This in itself is likely to boost sales, states the report.

Micho Spring, Weber Shandwick’s Global Corporate practice chair said: “The employee activist movement should not be underestimated. Identifying and activating employees willing to rise to levels of extraordinary support for their organisations will certainly be an important priority for CEOs.”

Leslie Gaines-Ross, Chief Reputation Strategist at Weber Shandwick also commented: “The internet and social media are game-changers for employee communications, giving employees an amplified voice. The opportunity for organisations is to harness the exuberance of those employees who see it as their responsibility to be reputation advocates”. 


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