Tuesday, September 01, 2015

3 New Rules to Protecting Employer Brand in the Social Era

Amazon’s employment practices were under fierce scrutiny last month after the New York Times published a scathing piece on the company’s “bruising workplace,” as described in full testimony by ex-Amazon employees. Their accounts portray an Amazon workplace culture defined by overwork, sabotage, and in-fighting.

The news was shocking. What was not shocking was how these harrowing tales of Amazon work-life all came from former employees.

The 2015 CareerArc Employer Branding Study found that 38 percent of survey respondents, who were once terminated or laid off, left at least one negative review of that former employer on a review site, on social media, or with a personal or professional contact.

Just about a decade ago, employer review sites and social networks did not exist.  With these innovations come immense opportunities for you to both amplify and protect your employer brand. While navigating this relatively new landscape, here are three new rules to keep in mind:

  • 1.     Organizations big and small are more vulnerable than ever to threats against their employer brand.

Attacks against your employment brand need not be delivered through a headline, nor written by the hand of a reputable journalist. Today they can come in the form of anonymous ratings on an employer review site, remarks left on an online forum, or posts on social media. On the web, these words are searchable and may never expire.

  • 2.     Social media and review sites are the new tools-of-choice for the modern job seeker.

Social media and review sites have become staple research tools for job seekers who want a real peek into the culture and workplace practices of an organization. The CareerArc study found that 62 percent of job seekers visit social media channels to evaluate employer brand. Moreover, 75 percent of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job.

  • 3.     Vying for top talent grows more difficult and complex.  Employer brand strategies must evolve to answer these challenges and complexities.

Traditional employer branding and marketing practices focus on the candidate experience, often overlooking those who can potentially be your harshest critics--employees exiting your organization. However, in the digital and social era, this oversight is a luxury employers of any size cannot afford. Employers who build a comprehensive employment brand strategy will have the highest chance in covering all points of brand vulnerability.

Focus on Points of Vulnerability: Treat Your Transitioning Employees Right

Waiting for bad reviews to surface, then reacting, is not a strategy--it’s a firefight. The most impactful way to protect your brand is to prevent bad reviews from sprouting up. Although employers cannot control employees’ opinions, there are several ways to truly improve processes and influence employee outlook.

One common point of employer brand vulnerability is at the end of employment. As observed through the CareerArc study, terminations and layoffs can leave a strong, negative impression on your workforce. Improving the experience of employees who exit your organization can positively impact the way they perceive and share your brand at their next employer.

If you are preparing for a separation event, below Robin D. Richards, CEO of CareerArc lists his key pointers on how to successfully handle a reduction in force:
  •   “Be organized. Dismissals can bring shock and stress to an employee, so it’s important for companies to try and ease any uncertainties they can by preparing them for their transition down to the details: Know how much unused vacation time the employee has, and provide paperwork for benefits like COBRA and outplacement or career transition assistance.”
  • “Dismissed employees all have one question on their minds: ‘What’s next?’ These days, you better have an answer. Help them take that next step: provide career transition assistance to everyone affected. These services have become more accessible thanks to tech advances ushering an end to outplacement reserved only for C-level execs. The days of costly job hunt workshops across town are fading away. If the long-term unemployed are indeed more vocal about their negative views of employers, getting employees transitioned to their next job quickly will benefit your employees and your employer brand.”
  • “Be human. Even when it comes to turnover, for whatever reason, treat your departing employees the same way you’d like to be treated. Showing compassion and respect during this difficult moment will go a long way. How you treat employees at this difficult moment will be the last impression you leave with employees transitioning out of your company and into another. Be remembered as an ally to their future success.”

CareerArc is the leading HR technology company helping business leaders recruit and transition the modern workforce. Our social recruiting and modern outplacement solutions help thousands of organizations, including many of the Fortune 500, maximize their return on employer branding.

Learn more about CareerArc’s award-winning outplacement solution at http://www.careerarc.com/solutions/outplacement.

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