In the past, if you fired or laid off an employee, any dirty laundry would have been contained to solely the parties involved—and maybe family and friends. Today, that laundry can be aired to everyone.
Welcome to the Social Era.
The importance of protecting our businesses’ reputation online in order to be able to attract high quality customers is nothing new. But a new study by CareerArc, a global HR technology provider of social recruiting and outplacement services, sheds light on another significant reason—online identities are crucial for hiring and retaining top talent.
According to the report, the past five years marked the longest streak in job growth on record in the United States. With the increased opportunities, comes an increased quit rate because workers want to keep their options open. As a result, employers’ reputations are more important now than ever before.
After reading the report, which surveyed about 1,600 professionals, I want to share five key takeaways that will help you protect your brand in this new era.
- Don’t burn bridges. The survey found that one in three respondents who have been terminated or laid off had left one negative review of that former employer on a review site, social media, or with a personal or professional contact. Interestingly, even though Baby Boomers were almost 2.5 times more likely than Millennials to have been reported as laid off or terminated, Millennials were more likely to share negative opinions about their former employers.
- Manage the relationship with the people you are letting go, as well as those you are hiring. Past employees can impact your future ones. What past employees say about you online is really important to your prospective ones. Upon hearing of a job opportunity, 52 percent of job seekers search an organization’s online properties — first, like websites and social media channels — to learn more about the employer’s brand identity and company culture. Seventy-five percent of them consider the employer’s brand before even applying for a job. (Note: Facebook and LinkedIn topped the list of social media platforms job seekers would likely visit to learn more about an employer’s brand identity and company culture).
- Have an effective social media platform. What you say about yourself and what others say about you online leaves an impression. Ninety-one percent of professionals viewed poorly managed or unattractive websites and social media channels as damaging to an employer’s brand. Similarly, a majority reported bad online reviews on products and services along with negative remarks on employer review sites as more damaging to the company’s brand than negative opinions from people they know.
- Build a strong culture that motivates your people and treats them well. How you treat your employees is really important. Working professionals, across generations and employment statuses, reported that employee treatment—which includes company culture, work flexibility, health and wellness programs, etc.—was the most important factor in considering employer brand, followed by honesty and transparency. These qualities ranked above career opportunities, corporate social responsibility programs, and strong brand recognition and popularity.
- Manage your communication with job seekers effectively. How you treat your job seekers is important, too. Seventy-two percent of workers reported that not being notified of the status or decision made on their application leaves a negative impression of that employer. The survey found that over a third of employers admitted to never notifying applicants, even though 76 percent of employers knew it likely left a bad impression among candidates.
Despite the advent of the Social Era and the accompanying increased significance of employer brands, only 57 percent of the employers surveyed actually have an employer brand strategy. However, 93 percent, report that they plan to increase, continue, or begin investment in social media to promote employer brand within the next year. The ones that follow through will be on their way to hiring and keeping the most talented employees in the workforce.
Click here to download CareerArc’s 2015 Employer Branding Study.
Photo by: Marcie Casas