According to Incentive Mag, a study by France’s Neoma Business School has determined that employee wellbeing at their workplaces influences the social media presence and reputations of the organizations where they work.
This shouldn’t be too big of a surprise. Over half of Wal-Mart’s reputation problem, for example, stems from public perception of how Wal-Mart employees are treated. And disgruntled employees and ex-employees are all too willing to use the Internet to sound off and gather support for their causes. Zappos has actively benefited from its reputation for being kind to its workers.
People’s sympathies, for the most part, lie with employees. They see employees as people “just like them.” Companies are often seen as the enemy, or at least as a suspect. This very reality is what makes it so easy for anyone to trash a company online.
Role of Employees' Social Media on Reputation Management
The research also found that organizations look at reputation management in social media as a balancing act of tensions and challenges related to branding and managing employees. Workers are seen as fundamental to all of this, and their well-being proved to be a key variable in this balance.
“When companies trust and treat employees fairly, and employ good day-to-day management practices, employees will do good for the company in return…For instance, by sharing their experiences of the company and its products in social media.
Create an environment where employees want to help build your brand, not break it
The impact of employee treatment can go way beyond whether or not the public becomes outraged over company practices. You also want employees who want to do a good job for your company.
Consider this: your employees are on your front lines. They’re the ones interacting with customers. One disgruntled employee is rude to one customer. That customer decides to spread the word on social media channels. You might never know which employee caused the problem, but that employee’s anger has become your reputation crisis. Even if you fire the employee you’re still left to battle the perception that your organization is full of rude, angry people who are just out to screw the customer.
Thus, training employees how to behave with customers and doing whatever you can to foster a sense of loyalty (or at least a lack of antagonism) towards your organization pays big dividends. It’s all part of a proactive reputation management strategy that allows you to build goodwill before a real crisis hits. If a crisis does hit, you’ll need that goodwill.