Employees’ hate-mails, hate texts, hate messages on Social Networking sites are not uncommon these days. Few days ago, when 200 employees of an e-commerce company got fired, there was a letter circulating in the media shaming the company and its policies. The editor of a magazine has been receiving a hate-email from an employee of an Indian multinational banking and financial services company about how that employee got ‘unethically’ ousted.
On popular social networking sites, there are instances of ex-employees shaming their previous companies on different counts – policies, employee treatment, HR, operations, even personal attacks on managers.
This kind of public shaming has a huge impact on employer branding. Organizations resort to different kinds of methods to try and salvage the brand names. An organization could find it difficult to source top talent if employees have been criticizing about it online, among his peers or even within the organization. Not getting the perfect talent will impact on deliverables and will have great effect on business growth.
Many researches in this aspect have shown that most job-seekers almost depend on employee feedback which pokes them to decide whether they are going to join the company or not. For Millennials, who are supremely tech-savvy, it takes a few seconds to make them ‘want’ to apply for a job or they just don’t.
The organizations’ usual approach has always been to ignore such ‘polluted messages’. Ignoring is termed as insensitive and when the companies go out to defend their stance then they are embroiled in major showdown which further escalates the matter. So what is the fine line to approach such employer shaming problem? Is there any method to address this issue or is there a best method to do it?
Develop employee feedback as a matter of policy
Make a page within your webpage or in the career section with employee blogs or feedback. Capgemini has a creative ‘meet our people’ page which is about their employees’ expressions on how and what they like in the company. It takes a little effort to get your branding correct, and you are not lying about your credentials. Rather your employees are expressing their views.
Acknowledge receiving the negative feedback
The worst thing that all organizations do is: they don’t even acknowledge receiving any negative feedback. And when things go out of hand, like negative feedback going viral, and people start shaming the company publicly on various platforms, organizations then start to salvage it. This is not the ideal way. It’s better to start acknowledging the feedback, however negative that is, and then asking them to have a personal dialogue, is a much better way to deal with this. At least, the outside world will know that you are proactive in tackling things and you value people’s opinion – something that employees look for when they apply for a job.
Past mistakes haunt employers like crazy – especially if it involves public shaming. For example, a multinational confectionery company had faced severe shaming when their product was found contaminated with worms. They didn’t deny it. But after a hiatus, they came out with branding exercises which made sure their brand didn’t suffer. For attracting top talent, an organization is not expected to have perfect reputation – in fact, how an organization overcome these shortcomings and if they openly provide such information to the potential employees, then that is how trust is built.
Engage through digital media
Since social media is growing exponentially, social media experts are also in demand. So investing in social media professionals is a good way to start. Apart from the regular Facebook, develop your online presence and engage with your consumers with Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, SlideShare, Pinterest, Xing, and other such properties. A private airline in India has a proactive Twitter team which acknowledges every tweet you send them – be it negative or even when you ask for simple information. They don’t do it because they want to hire you. They do it as part of their customer service – but this is what sets them apart from other players in the same business when they want to attract top talent.
Reviews matter. In this tech-world, it is impossible to work in silos. And every aspect of the work and organizations are getting inked somewhere in the cloud – through various means. Feedback on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter are real, be it negative or positive. Taking all of those into account, an organization has to develop an arsenal which will help in building an employer brand more than employer shaming.