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Your employees are your single biggest resource for word of mouth. But not every company treats them like that kind of asset. What if instead of restricting employees with rules and regulations, a company’s employee guidelines freed them to do remarkable work?

Here are three ways to do it:

1. Let them give stuff away
2. Let them have conversations like real people
3. Let them volunteer in their community

1. Let them give stuff away

This is one of the easiest ways your employees can help spread word of mouth, but so many companies resist it because they think there needs to be some system for handing out freebies. Fast food chain Pret A Manger’s CEO says they looked into loyalty cards for reward programs, but they didn’t want it to be complicated. Instead, their staff has a quota to meet for giving stuff away each week. So if they like someone, they can give them a free coffee. It works because it’s simple, sincere, and surprises people.

2. Let them have conversations like real people

When Groupon posted a deal for a “Banana Bunker” on Facebook, the jokes about what it looked like and what it could be used for started rolling in. And while most companies would have taken down the post to avoid any inappropriate conversations, Groupon embraced it — if not, encouraged it by responding to every single comment in a tongue-in-cheek way. For example, when one customer said “What if my banana is too big?” Groupon’s social media manager responded with, “Don’t exaggerate.” Their hilarious responses were fast, completely improvised, and earned them a lot of press. But it came from a willingness to let that social media employee show their personality, spend time with each response, and take some risks, not just hand out canned PR messages.

3. Let them volunteer in their community

Eatel, a telecommunications company, pays their employees with kids to take time off and help out at their school. They get 16 hours each year to volunteer at all of the stuff schools ask for parents’ help with, like plays, field trips, and fundraisers. It doesn’t just make their employees and communities happy, it also creates conversations about Eatel with teachers, other parents, and friends.

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