Your "Employer Brand" Online Presence Is More Important Than You Think - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

It’s essential to share your brand with people who will potentially purchase your goods and services. However, whether you operate a small or large business, you cannot succeed, grow, or thrive if potential customers cannot get a sense of who you are, what you offer, and why it is of benefit to them. Forbes now reports that nearly 25% of consumers admittedly declined to give business to a company based on negative employee feedback they read online. This shows that your employer brand is just as important as your consumer brand.

What is Employer Branding?

An employer’s brand is made up of what a company communicates to potential employees and current employees about its mission, vision, values, and culture. Just like the customer-facing brand, the employer brand should communicate the company’s value proposition and personality as it relates to the people who work there. If you don’t control your online employer brand message, someone else will. And that someone could be disgruntled former (and sometimes current) employees.

Sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, Kununu and FairyGodBoss allow current and former employees to post anonymous reviews about your company. Eighty-five percent of recruiting experts encourage job seekers to review these pages in making decisions about where to apply for and accept work. A 2018 study showed 33% of women and people of color opt out of applying or accepting a job when the company’s employer review scores were low or the profiles appeared unmanaged. This means online employer reviews are having a direct impact on your company’s ability to recruit and retain diverse talent.

The Effects of a Poor Employer Brand 

Without an employer brand presence, potential new hires will sense and see a lack of authenticity and either choose not to apply or reject your job offers. They will not know what your organization stands for and what their future path could look like while working there. Morale and retention with current employees will also suffer as they will feel embarrassed to rep your company and may leave to work somewhere with a better reputation. Plus, your growth and profitability will take a hit as consumers choose to spend their money with companies who have a better or more clear online image. Furthermore, when your online employer brand is ignored, your employees, potential employees, and consumers may feel confused about your overall brand integrity.

How To Cultivate Your Employer Brand Online

  1. Get social. This seems like an obvious tip for managing your online employer brand. However, many companies leave their online brand in the hands of the employer review sites. Don’t leave your online reputation solely in the hands of someone else. Instead, set up social media accounts on the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) and regularly share updates about what’s going on inside your organization for your employees, applicants, and consumers to see. Depending on the size of your company and your brand needs, these accounts may need to be separate from your product-related, consumer-facing accounts.
  2. Claim your profiles. Reach out to the employer review sites to set up administrator access to your company’s profile. With administrator access, you can share specific information about your company — including its history, pay philosophy, benefits, and perks. Claiming your profile also gives you the ability to respond to the feedback posted about you. There may be some fees for this depending on how much access and control you want.
  3. Respond to all feedback. Whether positive or negative, you should respond fully and sincerely to every comment and review that isn’t trolling, threatening, or hateful in its content. Don’t automatically hide, delete, and block feedback just because it is negative. There is wisdom and insight to be gained from both praise and criticism, regardless of the format. Honor that through the practice of responding timely and candidly. This will demonstrate to those interacting with you and reading about you that engaging with people is a priority for your organization.
  4. Invite reviews and sharing. Ask job candidates and employees in the organization to provide reviews about your company online. After an interview or after a promotion is a great opportunity for this because the person is usually feeling good about the company and likely to share positive feedback. Also, ask employees to share and post photos from workplace events and everyday happenings that you can post online as well. The goal here is not to manipulate or force feedback; rather the goal is to make sure the feedback about your company is balanced and properly represents your brand.

When done right, these tips will help the people inside and outside of your organization get an accurate depiction of what working for your company is like. It will give current employees a greater sense of pride about working for your organization, making them less likely to look for and/or accept jobs from other places. Most importantly, it will allow applicants and consumers to learn and make choices about your company with the full picture of your brand in mind.