In today’s tech-savvy world, more and more companies are quickly realizing just how critical online reputation management is. Just one single disparaging review of a company, their products or their services can quickly escalate into an extremely damaging public relations nightmare that takes a considerable amount of time, money and effort to resolve, even if the review is proven to be entirely false. Effective online reputation management can work hard to protect a company against things that have the potential to threaten their reputation and can resolve situations quickly when they arise. Since there are many possible ways a company’s online reputation can be affected by their employees, companies now believe that effective online reputation management also includes employee reputation management.
The Importance of Employee Reputation Management
The very nature of online news and social media sites means that information of a sensational nature can, and often does, go viral in record time. This means that even while a company must work very hard to protect their online reputation from disparaging news and remarks that are made about them online, they must also consider the damaging effects that can be caused by their employees’ actions and remarks.
It is no secret that employees are the face of their company, and that their decisions, actions and remarks can affect how others view the company. This is why companies perform background checks on applicants prior to hiring them–they cannot afford to be associated with an individual who has broken accepted social codes. But what happens if an individual has been hired and then decides, does or says something that reflects poorly upon the company? One poorly thought-out Facebook post has the potential to be just as damaging to a company’s reputation as a customer’s disparaging review–and sometimes even more so–as it was made by someone who represents the company. This is why employee reputation management has become so very important.
Understanding Employee Reputation Management
In addition to normal hiring procedures that include running general background checks to determine the presence of any criminal history, some companies are now running social media background checks on potential employees. This can help them to understand the individual’s general social habits as well as what they post to social media about, so as to better understand how the individual may reflect upon the company once hired. For example, if an individual is particularly outspoken about highly controversial political issues, has been badmouthing their boss, colleagues or clients or criticizing their employer in the past, this may present a big problem for a company that is considering hiring the individual. After all, what is to say that the individual won’t be doing the same thing in the near future?
Once an individual has passed these background checks, companies can ensure employee reputation management by establishing policies for employees to adhere to. These policies normally outline how employees are expected to conduct themselves on social media platforms so as not to reflect poorly upon the company. Sometimes they even outline the disciplinary actions the company may take should an employee violate the policies. Companies aren’t just trying to prevent their employees from making disparaging remarks or expressing personal views that could possibly be viewed by others as company views, they are very concerned about employees who will either deliberately or innocently misuse confidential company information, so policies will often cover this as well.
Essentially, a company must help their employees to understand that their actions online can have a big impact on how members of the public view the company, and that nothing they post online in any forum is posted in a vacuum that is guaranteed to be private. In other words, each employee’s reputation is closely linked to their company’s reputation, and they must understand their responsibility in protecting both.