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What is Employer Reputation Management? A Quick Start Guide

June 13, 2019

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Reputation management is the practice of attempting to shape public perception of a business or organization by influencing information about that entity, primarily online.

But the goal of the practice isn’t simply to attract customers to your business. Reputation management can also help create a strong employer brand. This, in turn, develops your organization’s ability to attract and retain top talent: a key growth and success driver for any business.

This explains why employer reputation management has increasingly become a key area of focus for organizations. Here are some research figures that highlight the importance of employer reputation management:

  • 94 percent of candidates are likely to apply to a job if a company actively manages its employer brand and employer reputation.
  • Companies with effective employer reputation management get twice as many applications as companies with negative brands, and they spend less money on employees.
  • When making a decision on where to apply for a job, 84 percent of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important. And 93 percent say it’s important to be thoughtful and informed about all aspects of a company prior to accepting a job offer.
  • 26 percent of executives said that employer reputation management and branding was the most important recruiting advantage for global organizations.

Employees: the key link to employer reputation management

Before we get into some of the best practices in employer reputation management, it is important to recognize the impact that your employees have on corporate reputation.

A research study by Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business underlines the role that employees have in managing employer reputation.

“Employees and corporate reputation are unique resources that generate positive financial performance and ultimately create sustainable competitive advantage,” the study states. “Corporate reputation is vital to the organization, and employees are the key link to managing it. By recognizing the synergistic role that employees can play in the overall positioning of corporate reputation, management can obtain significant achievements in terms of satisfying corporate strategic objectives.”

With this in mind, let us examine your keys to success when it comes to employer reputation management. You’ll notice that all of these involve an executive commitment to become a more employee-centric organization.

Employer reputation management: keys to success

Ask what you can do better

Your employer reputation management efforts start with your ability to get to the heart of employer-employee conversations.

While employees won’t always find it easy to be upfront with their managers and bosses, it’s critical that you are able to ask relevant and insightful questions.

  • “How can we make your work more fun?”
  • “If you were in my shoes, what would you change, and why?”
  • “What have you heard customers say about our business?”
  • “If there’s one thing you could change about what we do here at work, what is it and why?”
  • “How can I set you up for even greater success?”

By asking what you can do better, your employees feel that they’re being listened to, that they have a stake in the success of the company, and that their feedback is critical to the growth of the entire organization.

Monitor and respond to employee reviews

Online reviews left by employees on websites like Glassdoor and Indeed can have a strong impact on your employer brand. It’s critical that you’re able to keep an eye on these reviews, and respond when necessary.

By monitoring employee reviews, you can also determine whether or not your company is seen as a great place to work. And you can more accurately understand the perceptions that current and potential employees have of your organization.

Responding to employee reviews, meanwhile, supports your efforts to improve the overall employee experience. They engage your employees: the key link to corporate reputation.

Your responsiveness should also affect your hiring and recruitment strategy. Candidates may feel an extra measure of reassurance once they see that you, as an employer, are active on employee review sites.

Correct problems with employee experience

If your employer reputation has taken a hit, there wouldn’t be much to improve upon or manage if you don’t correct any critical problems with the employee experience.

Listen to employee feedback and act on the insights that you gain from that feedback. Don’t just pay lip service when you respond to reviews: resolve any high-impact issues that your employees may have raised.

Another reason for using employee feedback this way is to prepare your company for times when a candidate who has read your reviews might ask probing questions about the employee experience.

Encourage your employees to become ambassadors

Think of your employees as ambassadors who represent your organization to people outside the company’s walls. This makes them powerful potential ambassadors and authoritative and authentic communicators.

To achieve fuller representation of your employer reputation, encourage employees to speak up. Consider a strategy in which you ask them to share their feedback on online review sites. It’s a great way to capture and understand the voice of your workforce.

Just remember not to set any requirement that the review should be positive. Besides, employees tend to feel more goodwill toward a company that wants them to be authentic and provides opportunities and platforms for them to share genuine feedback.

Developing a culture based on candid feedback sharing, transparency, and open communication can do wonders for your employer reputation.

Harness employee feedback

Not all employee feedback will be in the form of online reviews. Sometimes, you can capture them through survey forms, one-on-one consultations with the leadership team, interviews, regular performance reviews, or pieces of paper dropped in your office’s suggestion box.

Don’t let this valuable kind of information go to waste. Employee feedback can contain the kind of information and insights you need to build a strong employer brand reputation.

Getting massive amounts of employee feedback? Apply analytical techniques and use tools to help you find hidden patterns and trends in sentiment within your data.

For example, you and your HR team may discover that 99 percent of your Indeed reviews mention how incredible the organizational culture is. But close to 70 percent talk about how there’s room to improve the “benefits package” or your company’s “PTO policy.”

By taking an analytical approach to feedback, you can spot employee issues before they become full-blown employer reputation disasters, as well as discover positive features that you can highlight with top candidates.

Perfect your interview process

Is your recruiter taking too long to return phone calls? Are your interviewers asking the right questions, or are they making a negative impact on your attractiveness as an employer? What factored into a candidate deciding not to accept the offer, when you thought for sure that she would?

Ask these questions and find ways to refine and perfect your interview process. Again, authentic employee and candidate feedback will come in handy. Listen to their comments. Then make the correct changes to your hiring process and deliver interview experiences that match potential employees’ expectations (as well as your own brand values).

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