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6 types of ‘employee activists’



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Singapore – The social and digital era has ignited new ways for employees to engage with their companies and build or destroy their organisation’s reputation.

And according to a survey by Weber Shandwick, 59% of the 1,075 Asia Pacific employees surveyed post issues related to their employer online.

Out of these, nearly half of the respondents to the Employees Rising: Seizing the Opportunity in Employee Activism survey have posted positive comments about their company, while 19% have published remarks which are potentially damaging to their organisation’s reputation.

“The employee activist movement should not be underestimated,” Micho Spring, Weber Shandwick’s global corporate practice chair, said.

“Identifying and activating employees willing to rise to levels of extraordinary support for their organisations will certainly be an important priority for CEOs.”

The report added employers have an enormous opportunity to engage and capitalise on these powerful advocates, or risk missing out on an important group of supporters and fail to curtail detractors who have the potential to upend company reputations.

Here are the six types of employee activists within Asia Pacific, according to the report. Can you identify these individuals within your organisation?

1. Inactives

Around 27% of Asia Pacific employees are inactives. Functioning almost as neutral entities, these employees provide little or no employer support or detraction behaviors. They are the least likely to put a great deal of effort into their jobs and only a few can explain to others what their employer does.

2. Proactivists

Labelled as “the embodiment of employee activism”, these type of employees were found to be the second largest group of activists in the survey (22%). They are known for their predominantly positive actions with regards to their employer and are also known to have the highest level of employer engagement. They are also highly social.

3. Preactivists

Coming in at third place are the preactivists (19%). All such employees take positive actions but not nearly as many positive actions as the proactivists. They also engage in a higher number of negative actions than proactivists and aren’t as social. They are also known to display an average level of employee engagement.

4. Reactivists

This group of activists mostly take positive actions when it comes to their companies but also have a high propensity for detraction. With 13% of employees in Asia Pacific being reactivists, the report highlights these group of workers have an average level of engagement. They are mainly critical of workplace conditions and are highly social.

5. Detractors

The report found 11% of employees in Asia Pacific are detractors. They all take negative actions against their employer and are the most distrustful of leadership. The good news is that most of these employees are not social, so the damage they inflict is contained offline.

6. Hyperactives

The last group of activists are considered the wildcard of employee activism (8%). The report highlighted they have the most potential to both help and damage employer’s reputation. They are the most engaged employees following the proactivists. Two-thirds of these employees are also highly social.

Image: Shutterstock



Gathering 50 top regional chief HR and senior business leaders at a three-day business retreat forum, the exclusive HR Innovation Leaders' Summit will happen from September 9-11. Get involved.

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