Mitch Joel, the author of Six Pixels of Separation famously wrote,
"Your brand is not what you say it is, it's what Google says it is."
Nowhere does this apply more than to an employer's brand and reputation in this digital age with current and former employees empowered to rank the employer on the internet.
The No.1 jobs board in the country, Seek, has recently joined the company review business. The company claims that more than 90,000 current and former employees have already posted ratings of employers on its website.
Regardless of whether the comments and ratings are accurate or not, Seek and other employer rating sites play on the adage that "perception is reality".
A professional services firm I know had previously enjoyed the reputation of being a great first employer for top-flight graduates. But with the loss of a major client, many of the bright graduates were retrenched without thanks or outplacement support. Enough of the internet-savvy former employees publicly vented their anger and disappointment stating what it was really like to work for the company. The next graduate intake saw the firm failing to hire good graduates (who had apparently read the harsh criticisms online). Within a short while, the firm also lost out on projects it would normally have expected to win.
Think this can't happen to your firm? Think again.
What is very apparent from research by CareerSupport365 is that it's just as important to look after employees that you are letting go, as it is when your company employs them.
CareerSupport365 gathered responses from more than 700 people who had lost their jobs, with some interesting findings.
• 93 percent of Australian workers who lost their job were very likely to visit Seek in the first week they were made redundant or were retrenched
• 89 percent of those laid-off employees said they would have felt "much more positive" towards their employer had their former employer provided them with outplacement or career transition support
• 88 percent of former employees felt more likely to still talk poorly about their employer within 13 weeks of losing their job
• But if they had been provided with outplacement or transition services, 95 per cent would have felt "far less inclined" to talk poorly about their own former employers in person or online
Offering some form of outplacement support to redundant or retrenched employees may significantly help mitigate the potential damage to your employer brand.
According to Dr Leslie Gaines-Ross, author of Corporate Reputation, it takes more than three years on average to turn an employer brand around if it is damaged.
Treating employees with dignity, regardless of their seniority, is not only morally and ethically right, but it makes sound business sense.
People don't think twice about ranking a restaurant or hotel online or through a phone app, and equally people are known to be reluctant to buy a food or service if it has been rated below four out of five by other users. If your business was rated under four by current and former employees, don't you think future staff might think twice about being employed by you?
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Greg Weiss has been consulting to the human resources profession for almost three decades. He is founder and director of outplacement firm CareerSupport365.com.
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About the author:
Greg Weiss is one of Australia’s most renowned career coaches. He is the author of “So You Got A Job, WTF Is Next”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7 step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/
He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.
Greg also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.