How Negative Publicity (Shaming) Can Impact Your Company and More

<em>More than a quarter of employers have experienced negative publicity, say it has impacted hiring, morale, turnover and sa
More than a quarter of employers have experienced negative publicity, say it has impacted hiring, morale, turnover and sales.

By now everyone knows you never get a second chance to make a first impression, today that initial first glance is usually your virtual one.

A recent national survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, revealed that 71 percent of U.S. workers would not apply to a company experiencing negative press.

“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.”

Women were more likely not to apply to companies experiencing bad publicity than men according to this survey. In the recent PEW Research survey, 70 percent of women also viewed online harassment as a major problem verses 54 percent of men believe it’s an issue. Especially young women experienced sexualized forms of abuse online at much higher rates than men. Some 21 percent of women ages 18 to 29 report being sexually harassed online.

As we witness a time in our country when incivility is on the rise, 75 percent of Americans believe it’s up to us to change the tides according to the Civility in America survey.

From watching major corporations take on celebrities in tweetstorms, to a restaurant attempting to adjust to new legislation, social media can take on a life of its’ own and your company can be left lifeless.

The shame factor and the bottom line.

The CareerBuilders survey noted that more than a quarter of employers (26 percent) say their company has experienced negative publicity, resulting in a hit to their hiring process as well as other areas. Bad press and online shaming impacts employee morale, higher voluntary employee turnover and a decline in sales. Businesses with negative publicity turns off candidates from applying, so companies will risk losing potentially good applicants due to a smear campaign or other forms of unflattering content online. The loss of revenue is why employers must address these issues immediately or may potentially risk going out of business.

Today 90 percent of people rely on reviews posted online before they purchase or use a service, yet shockingly, 1 in 5 people will admit to writing false reviews of products or services they have never used according to a YouGov survey. The bottom line is, your online reviews can literally cripple your company.

Being proactive, being positive.

While negative news travels faster in our social world, companies should share their positive news to strengthen their company overall. This is what online reputation management is about and why people need to learn to maintain it regularly. When [if] a digital disaster does occur, you are already prepared for it.

In my upcoming book, Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate, we discussed with Rich Matta, CEO of ReputationDefender, the rise of online attacks towards businesses. “We’re seeing an enormous rise [in] online attacks for three main reasons,” he says. “First, attackers now understand that online attacks have significant potential to negatively impact their intended targets—and they’re growing more sophisticated, selecting approaches that maximize damage.” You can read his entire interview in Shame Nation being released on October 3rd, 2017.

Previously a CareerBuilders survey shared how social media can impact your chances of landing a job. In reality everyone has social liability they need to be responsible for - both the employer and the potential employee.

When corporations encounter negative publicity or you have been through cyber-warfare online, it’s important to address digital disasters swiftly and professionally. As with many trolls, arguing with them can only fuel the fire and increase your exposure. It’s imperative to be proactive, not reactive in these situations.

Being proactive means building your social authority online of your brand with positive outreach to people. If your audience knows you and what you stand for, they will be less likely to be influenced by a ban of pesky trolls.

CareerBuilders survey determined nearly 4 in 5 employers who have experienced positive press have seen beneficial impacts such as:

  • 42 percent higher morale among the workplace
  • 36 percent of employees were likely to share positive things about their company on social media
  • 36 percent boost in sales
  • 32 percent more job applications
  • 22 percent more job candidate referrals from current employees
  • 21 percent more jobs being accepted
  • 19 percent lower voluntary employer turnover

If you’re a company facing a tweetstorm or social media meltdown it’s important to attempt to take it offline as quickly as possible.

You’re best line of defense is being prepared before the cyber-bullets arrive. Building your digital platform, encouraging your current clients (customers) for reviews, keeping your blogs and websites up-to-date and using your keypad with respect and responsibility towards everyone - even if they aren’t your customer.

It might be a time of incivility and uncertainty in our country, but it can be that time you can shine online. Be the person (business) that takes this shame nation to a sane nation — one keystroke or post at a time.

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