How To Improve Your Company’s Online Reputation in 5 Smart Steps
We’ve previously answered two very important questions that relate to your online company reputation:
1) Do your online company reviews really matter when it comes to your online reputation?
2) In what ways are your online reputation and your company culture connected?
Both posts share some cool facts and statistics from our latest whitepaper with Energage around “The Truth About Your Online Company Reviews” (which you can download for free here), and each include their own nifty infographic to help you digest the information.
The reason I mention those two posts is because they’re what brings me to the ultimate question that this post is about to answer:
“What steps can I take to improve my company’s online reputation?”
Whether you already know that your company’s online reputation needs help or maybe you’re just starting to realize the powerful connection between your reputation and your employer brand, here are 5 smart steps to improve your online reputation that you can act on ASAP:
Educate your leaders
Incorporate your online brand into your leadership team meetings. When discussing your online reputation, consider how the perception of the company aligns with the reality of the company, keeping in mind that our research shows that the gap is generally narrow between perception and reality. Each leader should take ownership of the content of employee and former employee reviews and consider how their leadership may have contributed in both positive and negative ways. Most importantly, leaders should focus on identifying solutions and taking steps toward real, cultural improvement – not just improvement of the reviews.
Keep Your Finger on the Pulse
Many third-party vendors offer software and applications that can assist you in keeping a finger on the pulse of your organization. By measuring the pulse – or the ebbs and flows – of your company’s culture, you can begin to identify changes and activities that either improve or damage the culture. For example, some employers use these apps to ask one question a week to get an idea of employees’ level of engagement, and might notice a positive swing after an increase in retirement match or a negative swing after they skipped the free turkeys this Thanksgiving. These “pulse” measurements help you understand how your daily decisions impact the way your employees feel about what they do and who they do it for.
Own Internal and External Scores
Take ownership of your internal and external scores. This means:
- Never discount a review or result for any reason (common reasons include “the employee was probably a poor performer,” or, “she clearly didn’t understand the value of her benefits package or she wouldn’t have rated it that way”). Employee perception is employee reality, which makes it valid and valuable feedback.
- Never decide that your online reputation is out of your control. Investing in your company culture, taking feedback seriously, and replying to online reviews all build your online reputation, either directly or indirectly.
Communicate Your Benefits
The benefits you offer to employees communicate your desire to provide them with work-life balance and support their emotional, physical, and financial well-being. Many employees have no idea what you invest in their benefits package each year and some don’t even know all of the benefits available to them. Consider offering employees a salary, benefits, and bonus (however you structure your offers) followed by the total value of the package with fringe benefits. This shows employees that they’re getting an additional 20-40% of their salary invested in their comfort, happiness, and wellness each year, which contributes to culture and feeds your online reputation.
Bring Employees into the Conversation
Your current employees know your culture best. Ask them if they believe your online reputation is accurate, and if the answer is yes, get their feedback and insight on the experiences they’ve had that would drive that opinion so you can identify your shortcomings and move upward and onward. If their answer is no, asking them to post online reviews can help you shift your online reputation to better reflect reality.
Keep in mind that current employees might not be comfortable exhibiting transparency. Check the reviews daily after requesting that they review the company, too, to see if any valuable insight arises that wasn’t brought to the table during the initial discussion.
These smart steps are digestible, manageable, and impactful. Happy branding!