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Negative word-of-mouth and importance of employer brand

Even though Covid-19 has created a temporary recession-like phase, it is pertinent for organizations to continue strengthening their Employer brand

Published: Nov 9, 2020 05:22:51 PM IST
Updated: Nov 9, 2020 05:28:12 PM IST

Image: Shutterstock

In a deeply connected world, information spreads fast. Everyone remembers the lawsuits filed against hostile working conditions by women employees of several big firms from Silicon Valley, and the subsequent evolution of #MeToo movement within corporate world, some accusations leading up to Senior Management. How an organization treats its workforce determines its future success. For, in the world of recruitment ‘Any publicity is NOT good publicity’! Just as employers are quick to discard shabby ‘profiles’, similarly negative word of mouth repels quality talent. The bar is set so high in terms of dream company that the talent-pool expects nothing less than the moon. It is no wonder than that top companies continue to invest heavily in maintaining their ‘employer’ image.

Bring in the troika - Employer Branding fails among most companies because of its inherent disconnect with company culture and core drivers. Having developed an employer brand, it is strongly suggested that Human Resources join hands with PR & Marketing departments to not only implement a coherent strategy but also communicate it effectively to their target audiences. A flawless communication about establishing a positive employer brand augments one’s consumer branding as well. The aim is to nurture the organization as a ‘great place’ to work and compete at a global level.

A proactive online presence – This one is a given. We are past the phase where owning a website & a career’s page is considered fruitful. Social media questions even the high and mighty. Organizations must develop a presence on all online platforms frequented by their potential recruits. These could include Facebook, Glassdoor, LinkedIn etc. Publishing timely content about the organization’s work policies, customer feedback and employee experiences generates curiosity among potential recruits. By adopting interactive content strategies, one can further strengthen the employer brand. Top companies continuously maintain their presence on social media. In fact, the world watches how organizations approach negative comments – do they sweep them under the carpet or do they get addressed satisfactorily. A proactive approach to addressing negative feedback can help douse the fire before it begins, thus saving companies from a PR blowback.

Employee Referral - Organizations must emphasize on improving job security, provide more growth opportunities (personal as well as professional) and be true to their core values. If employees are truly happy with their organization, they shall be its most effective ambassadors. A rewarding Employee Referral Programme helps to not only tap their network but also tests their levels of job satisfaction. Asking for candid employee feedback to improve retention gives fair insights into the employee mindset. It also throws light on missed opportunities, which can then be worked upon. The point being, unhappy employees will seldom refer their organizations within their network.

Partnerships – Increasingly, companies are partnering with academia to influence young talent even before they graduate. Several corporate relations programmes are designed to provide practical exposure to students including company presentations, case study competitions, company treks, mentoring programmes etc. These influences help establish a commitment from the talent pool. Internship programmes are a great way to provide college students a sneak peek into the workings of an organization. An organization consistently recruiting interns projects itself not only as student-friendly but also flexible. Such organizations are bound to utilize their partner college’s reach to garner goodwill and positive word of mouth within the campuses.

Even though Covid-19 has created a temporary recession-like phase, it is pertinent for organizations to continue strengthening their Employer brand. Addressing the existential concerns, allaying fears related to job security and shift in working conditions remain major challenges for all organizations. History stands proof, those organizations who embrace this change and adapt themselves accordingly will continue to flourish. For the potential talent pool, such organizations shall continue to be the most sought after.

Author is Country Manager at EDHEC Business School and can be reached out at nilesh.gaikwad@edhec.edu