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The experiences your employees have at work will dictate your reputation… among potential new hires, partners, and even customers. When people want to learn about your organization, they don’t just read the “about us” page on your website; they go straight to the source—your current and past employees.

The problem is, new research suggests that a good chunk of workers today don’t feel the messaging their company is putting out about its culture matches their actual experience as an employee. In fact, only 19 percent of employees feel strongly that the work experience their employer promotes publicly matches reality, according to research by Weber Shandwick.

“Imagine, for example, being promised a culture of innovation only to have every new idea you put forward dismissed. Or banking on career advancement opportunities only to realize that your employer seldom fills open roles from within your organization,” writes Sarah Clayton, in Harvard Business Review.

Employees can be your biggest advocates (or your biggest detractors).

With social media platforms and websites like Glassdoor, your company reputation is on display for the world to see, making transparency essential… which is not necessarily a bad thing. It forces companies to be more authentic and honest in their recruitment marketing efforts and encourages organizational change when the employee experience isn’t quite up to snuff.

Transparency holds leaders accountable for driving a culture of engagement and fostering a positive work environment. And the great thing about that is, employees who are engaged in their work and passionate about the company culture are more likely to share that positive experience with others. (And vice versa… if they have a negative employee experience, they’re eventually going to tell people about it. Just ask Uber.)

Incorporate employer branding into your marketing strategy.

Creating an environment in which employees have a sense of purpose and are bought-in to the company mission is not only great for productivity and engagement but also creates opportunities to boost reputation. Organizations can amplify employees’ passion for the work and the brand by sharing their stories publicly.

UPS does a great job of this with their “Driver for a Day” video:

Putting real employees on display like UPS (brilliantly) did in this video is a compelling way to show off a great work culture and show customers that the company cares. It can even turn customers into employees. “When your best customers are reminded that you’re not just a company that makes great stuff, but a great employer, too, chances are you’ll see more of those passionate brand ambassadors applying for jobs–in other words, consumers becoming candidates,” writes J.T. O’Donnell in Fast Company.

Get ahead of negative feedback.

If your company gets negative reviews online, don’t ignore them or shy away from responding. Just the act of acknowledging the feedback can lessen the blow significantly. This is especially true when it comes to your reputation as an employer. Glassdoor users’ perception of a business improves by 62 percent after seeing them respond to a review (whether it’s positive or negative).

Collecting employee feedback internally is a great way to identify any concerns or engagement blockers your people are experiencing and can help you stay ahead of issues (before they become disgruntled online posts). And by really listening to the feedback you receive (both internally and externally), you might really learn some things about your business that you didn’t realize. It’s a great opportunity to make the employee experience better and turn your employees into your biggest advocates.

Learn more about what an engaged workforce looks like—and how to spot (and win back) a disengaged employee—in our Symptoms of a Disengaged Employee ebook.

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