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When it comes to business, toot your own horn!

When it comes to business, toot your own horn!

By Jason Rowe, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? This old philosophical question can be applied to your company and its positive impacts on your employees, customers and community. If you, as an organization, are not going to toot your own horn and share all of the positive news regarding your organization, then who is? The answer is no one. If your organization takes even a slight misstep, there are plenty of people lined up to share it with the world via social media. The world might only be seeing and hearing about the company’s pitfalls and is missing the successes. The company brand that took years to build could be destroyed in just a few negative tweets or Facebook posts.

Unsurprisingly, a branding issue will cost you customers; a huge issue. Another issue, though typically given less thought, is that a poor brand will cost you employees (both future and current). A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 71% of U.S. workers would not apply to a company experiencing negative press. The survey also reported that 26% of employers that experienced negative publicity reported fewer job offers being accepted, fewer candidate referrals from employees, and fewer job applications due to the negative publicity. Fortunately, most current employees (94%) would not leave the company over negative publicity.

So how can you correct your branding issue? Start singing your own praises! ASE’s Recruitment and Retention Survey found that an organization’s employment brand/reputation was one of the top three most significant positive impacts on an organization’s ability to attract qualified applicants. This was also seen in the CareerBuilder survey which found that nearly 4 out of 5 employers who have experienced positive press have seen beneficial impacts such as:

  • Higher morale among employees (42%) 
  • Employees were most likely to share positive things about the company on social channels (36%) 
  • Boost in sales (36%) 
  • More job applications (32%) 
  • More job candidate referrals from employees (22%) 
  • More job offers being accepted (21%) 
  • Lower voluntary employee turnover (19%)
"In today's 24/7 news cycle and social media world, earning and maintaining a good reputation can be a challenge," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. "It's easier than ever before for job seekers to research potential employers. Employers that value transparency and take a proactive approach to issues or complaints will have a better chance of securing trust and loyalty and maintaining a positive reputation that can strengthen their recruitment and retention strategies."
According to another recent survey, nearly 60% of employers indicated that employer branding formed a key part of their overall HR strategy.  But it goes beyond HR…a recent study by Universum that surveyed over 2,000 senior executives including CEOs and heads of HR found that 60% of CEOs think that this responsibility lies with the CEO.

Another old adage holds true here – “Honesty is the Best Policy.”  When you do receive negative press or reviews, address them honestly.  In addition, make sure your employer brand is real.  It won’t take a new employee long to figure out that it was all smoke and mirrors if you weren’t honest about your workplace culture.

The following steps were gleamed from the Universum study as ways to attract and retain the right talent through proper employer branding:

  • Evaluate your current employer brand awareness and reputation.  Survey your key target audiences to evaluate their perception of your organization.
  • Develop a compelling Employee Value Proposition based on the realistic strengths of your organization.
  • Utilize social media to highlight your strengths and internal employee success stories.  This will help to build an authentic and engaging employer brand reputation.
  • Involve every area of the organization in communicating your employer brand.
With the war on talent continuing to grow stronger, organizations can’t afford a weak reputation.  Address negative press appropriately, and share your successes proudly.  Employees considering employment with you will look to social media and begin to form an opinion often times before an interview has even occurred.  Be sure you are telling an honest, positive story that reinforces your employer brand.
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