The energy industry is one of the most competitive fields in the UK. Around 15-17% of customers switch their energy supplier each year. Meanwhile, fewer than 2% change banking providers each year. With it being so easy to switch energy providers, it’s now more important than ever for companies to create advocates.

This begins within a company’s ranks. Sales teams and customer relations staff will be more successful if they can draw on their own love of the brand community they represent. Octopus Energy is a great example of a staff community who are proud of and excited by their work

Not only does it outperform its rivals when it comes to customer satisfaction and support, but it maintains sustained growth. These five areas have allowed Octopus Energy’s employees to excel as advocates:

1) Friends not colleagues

A quick look through the Octopus website shows that there is a real community feel among staff. Octopus splits its employees into different teams (labelled Team A, Team B, and so on). Team B describes itself as having “a strong family vibe”, while the other teams all reference that they organise social events outside of work.

According to reviews, a negative element of applying to work at Octopus is the lengthy application process. However, in the same breath, many of these also make the point that this is beneficial. One review says that the “recruitment process can seem long, but they make sure you are the right fit for the team, so [it is] well worth it”.

2) Matching ethics

The community ethos that Octopus has cultivated would not be possible without the right employees. This includes a consideration of how new members will fit into a team socially, but also their passion for Octopus’s green, clean energy.

It is no doubt one of the reasons that they attract like-minded employees. The workforce is predominantly made up of recent graduates, whose values align with the company’s on such issues.

3) Ownership

Each team feels a genuine sense of ownership and pride in its work. Having different teams also creates a sense of friendly rivalry. Several of the teams describe themselves as ‘the best team’ on their website profiles – which represents the friendly but competitive company’s ethos. This competition creates tighter bonds within teams as they work to achieve even better results than their counterparts.

I was made to feel welcome very quickly. I remember coming out of my second interview and basically started a sales pitch to sign my parents up.

ConnorOctopus Energy employee

4) Valued

At Octopus, it is clear that the company’s values run through the entire organisation. For example, during lockdown CEO Greg Jackson held video meetings with the new team members being onboarded, making them feel valued. Interaction with those higher up in the company demonstrates an egalitarian structure in which each member of the team – from CEO down to technician – has a personal connection.

Octopus proudly showcases its staff on the company website. Each team is given a page in which they express their collective identity.

5) Creative freedom

Allowing employees to showcase themselves also provides them with the opportunity to express their personality. This is important in attracting similar people to the company in the future. People who can see themselves fitting into the community are more likely to apply for positions. 

This freedom extends to working expectations. Employees at Octopus are given flexibility with regards to shift patterns and particularly holidays and sabbaticals.

These points have ensured that Octopus Energy has a team of advocates working on the front line. Employees have bought into what the company stands for and built a strong community. Businesses can learn from Octopus’ approach, which has shown that advocacy starts very close to home.

At Hyve we can help you quickly understand where you currently are and help you get to where you need to be in order to create a brand advocacy programme that can help you increase revenue and enhance reputation.

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John Sewell

Author John Sewell

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