In continuing our conversations with employee advocacy experts we interviewed Rhonda Hughes from Citrix, who is going to be one of our panelists at the Flipboard/Voce Employee Advocacy Meetup on August 15, 2016, to be hosted at Flipboard’s HQ in Palo Alto.Julie Hayes, Autodesk

What is your role and what organization do you work in at Citrix?

I lead our corporate social media strategy acting as the voice of Citrix in our social communities. I am also an internal consultant and educator on social media related topics across the business. My role sits within the global corporate communications team which is within marketing.

A big area of my focus is on helping people “do social” well. That includes both our social media practitioners who are responsible for a Citrix brand social account and, more generally, our employees.

How did the idea of an employee advocacy program come about at Citrix? Why was it needed?

The idea for our employee advocacy program actually came from employees.

At the time, I was the community manager for the Citrix SaaS division (GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, etc.). Our marketing team was creating really fantastic content including webinars and infographics on broad topics like how to be a better presenter, better manager or better leader – things most business professionals care about. I’d promote the latest webinar, for example, with Dan Pink or Guy Kawasaki on the GoToMeeting Facebook page and would see comments from coworkers about how great the topic was. I realized we had an internal awareness issue.

We were creating all this interesting, relevant and shareable content but most employees didn’t know about it or understand how they could properly share it with their social communities.

From there, I built a proposal, outlined requirements and evaluated vendors. While we were in the evaluation stage, a VP, at the time, made an introduction to a small start-up that an investor friend of hers knew about and we became their 4th customer.

The goal for our program was simple: make it easier for employees to:

  • See the latest Citrix content & news
  • Share the things they find interesting with their social networks

In Spring of 2013, we launched a pilot with 40 employees. The response was incredible. We used the results — traffic to the website, webinar leads and also qualitative feedback from our pilot participants—to make the case for further investment extending an invite to the entire division. Shortly after I was promoted into my current role, now with global purview across the entire company, not just a single business unit or division, I continued to grow the program to its status now at nearly 1000 employees.

What was your experience with advocacy programs before you started the one at Citrix? 

Three years ago, employee advocacy wasn’t really a term I’d heard of. Most of my prior experience was geared towards customer advocacy –collecting and amplifying social testimonials, surprise and delight campaigns, etc. I did build a process for collecting stories and photos from employees but it was more focused on gathering content to share via our product social accounts vs. encouraging employees to tell a story on our behalf.

How do you determine what content is going to perform well with employees? 

With nearly 1000 participants from across the globe, it became really difficult for me to select content that would appeal to everyone. That’s why our program continues to evolve.

Earlier this year we introduced a new option so employees can personalize what content/news they see. Participants have access to a web app where they create a customized content library and can schedule social posts and see analytics. Like before, we started with a pilot and used the results to make the case for further investment but the results and feedback from employees has been phenomenal.

Join us on Monday, August 15, 2016, from 6:00-9:00pm, at Flipboard’s HQ for networking and a panel discussion about best practices & pitfalls in starting and growing an employee advocacy program.

Eventbrite - The Rise of Employee Advocacy in the Enterprise