Reputation Management: Let Your Employees Be Your Advocate

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It was a Friday night like any other Friday night in Los Angeles. A pack of Thirtysomethings – myself included – piled into an Uber, headed deep into the heart of Hollywood. “Where are we going for dinner?” my date asked the group. Four people tossed out four different restaurants in Hollywood. The Uber driver added a fifth to the mix. 15 minutes later Hollywood Boulevard loomed in the windshield and we had narrow our choice down to two restaurants. “Oh, I don’t want to go there,” my friend’s date added, “My friend bartended there and …” What followed was a hair-raising insider’s review that was worthy of a chapter in Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. “Okay, okay,” I said, cutting short the conversation, “we will go to the other place.”

When businesses think of reputation management, they think in terms of customers and potential customers. What did this customer post on Yelp? How should we respond to customers on Facebook? What should we tweet about and whom should we retweet? These are the things businesses typically think about when they are developing their reputation management strategy. Focusing solely on customer reviews and opinions, however, means your reputation management strategy is ignoring the other half of the equation.

What your employees say about your company matters. Employee opinion goes a long way towards shaping the public perception of your company. A smart business can leverage employee opinion and use it to shape a positive narrative. Here is how.

Encourage Employee Reviews

Glassdoor and Indeed.com are powerful, authoritative sites that job seekers turn to for more information about prospective employers. These sites are also likely to turn up on the 1st page of Google when a prospective customer is using a branded search to investigate the trustworthiness of your business.

Typically, a business will take a reactive approach to employee review sites. They are not on the radar until a disgruntled employee posts a negative review. At that point it is too late and you already have a reputation problem. Instead of being reactive, be proactive.

Use the positive energy from your happy, engaged employees. Encourage them to post about their work experience. Not only will this improve your image online, it will enhance your future recruitment efforts by attracting better hires to your company.

Set a Social Media Policy

If your company does not have a social media policy you are setting yourself up for a reputation disaster. Your social media policy should be comprehensive and cover more than just “don’t tweet about your manager in a less than flattering light.”

Your social media policy should set clear boundaries on the use of social media outlets by employees. Can they talk about their job? What should they say and not say about your brand? What job specific information can be included on a LinkedIn profile and what should be omitted?

A clear social media policy will save your H.R. department time. It will also save your business’ reputation online.

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