What about employee activists? Are employee activists the next wave that leaders need to be ready for? Who is asking this question?

Management, human resources and communications departments of Fortune 500 companies are rightfully laser-focused on employee satisfaction and engagement. In fact, global research conducted by Weber Shandwick and Spencer Stuart among chief communications officers found that employee satisfaction as a critical metric of communications effectiveness rose dramatically during a five-year span (from 61% in 2007 to 79% in 2012).

Weber Shandwick strongly believes that employee engagement is central to company success and is the underlying foundation for high-performing companies. Yet we also believe that to prepare for the future workforce, employers will need to build upon engagement and acknowledge and embrace employee activism. Employee activists are different — they make their engagement visible, defend their employers from criticism and act as active advocates, online and off. Many employee activists already exist today. Sometimes their activism is stimulated by the employer, but, more often than not, it rises organically out of self-motivation and determination. Employers can’t afford to miss the open window of opportunity to lean in and capitalize on this movement that will only increase in the years ahead.

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