As the economy continues to recover, it will be eminently more difficult for employers to compete for quality employees. To ensure that your company is able to attract the best and the brightest, you should be mindful of three ways in which your business reputation could be undermined by your former workers.
According to J.T. O'Donnell, “[studies] show job seekers are two-thirds more likely to make a decision about whether to work for a company based on the feedback they get from former employees.” One or two negative reviews may be dismissed, however, if there is a torrent of negativity, most new employees will seek out other employment options. I guess this is a natural reaction to most of us living in a “Yelp world”. I know that I pretty much never make any important decision (and even some minor ones) without researching reviews and other information online.
Given these circumstances, you should pay attention the following:
1. Negative Glassdoor reviews. “This site allows ex-employees the opportunity to anonymously share their experiences.” Everyone (including the CEO) and everything is given a rating of 1 – 5.
2. Back-door references on LinkedIn. This site boasts 400 million members. As such anyone can easily connect with your former employees to get insider information about your company.
3. Blasting comments on Facebook and Twitter. And of course, there are Facebook and Twitter; where many people go to vent. According to O’Donnell, this is especially troublesome because,
“bad news travels fast and colorful commentary is the most memorable...[as such,] employees can spread the word quickly through these networks about their negative experience with your company. Plus, they use hashtags (i.e., try searching #bademployer) to make it possible for people to find their comments and share them with others.”
Once your reputation has been damaged, paying a higher wage to potential employees will not be enough. Per O’Donnell, a “study by LinkedIn of over 10,000 job changers shows the main driver for job seekers today is a career opportunity that make them feel satisfied. They want their work to matter, and that includes working for a company they're proud of.”
As our Social Media Cheat Sheet shows, you cannot legally stop your current employees from making negative claims about your company on social media. That right is protected under the law. And, of course, you have no control over your former employees. So how can you fight back against those who are drawing your company’s reputation through the mud?
Well, first, you cannot simply ignore the problem and hope it goes away. According to O’Donnell, you must, “take charge of that brand and do everything they can to reveal it to the world. The more transparent you are about what it's like to work for your company, the better…because top talent…want to see you're confident enough to share everything about what it's like to work at your company, warts and all.”