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Three Simple Step to Keep Rogue Employees from Damaging Your Brand Online

Are Employees a Risk to Company Reputation?At some point, every employer comes to the realization that dealing with negative employee behavior is a part of owning and operating a successful practice. From the smaller things like chronic lateness to the larger issues like theft of company property, the minute an employee becomes a team member, any number of issues are likely to arise to damage both the brand reputation and the health of the company.

There are two very distinct opportunities to deal with employee behavior.  The decision to approach employees with the expectations before there is an issue verses after there is an issue can define the outcome and prevent rogue employees.  Common sense would dictate that the best time to set boundaries for actionable behaviors is BEFORE the issue occurs, but most employers hire with the best end result in mind – complete harmony among team members pulling in the same direction for the growth of the company.

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT – Damage Control against Rogue Employees

Did you know…?

According to a recent survey by CareerArc (download the full report), the painful truth is:

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long-term-employees

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In truth, with the infiltration of social media and reviews, one rogue employee could potentially damage the company brand reputation in various ways.

From the random tweet depicting company or personal life to sharing company information to the targeted attack of a disgruntled ex-employee, the internet is quickly becoming a field of battle for  companies seeking to maintain a high standard for branding in marketing, online presence, and new employee recruitment.

Noting the top trending job hashtags on Instagram and Twitter per month, it is easy to hear the whole story loud and clear:

  • #boredatwork – 312,631
  • #ihatemyjob – 37,857
  • #hatemyjob – 30,852
  • #myjobsucks – 5,389
  • #ihatemyboss – 1,318
  • #hatemyboss – 1,078

3 SIMPLE STEPS TO PROTECT YOUR BRAND ONLINE

While many people avoid thinking about the impact of social media to their brand by rogue employees, the stats paint a very real picture of the possible of brand suicide encountered by many companies.  The certainty is that protecting the company and the brand fall clearly in the job description of the owner – not the employees – because there are three simple steps companies need to take immediately to protect their brand online.

SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY – One study indicates that less than 23% of companies have a clearly defined social media policy for employees.  Creating a social media policy is an important to business success as a business plan.  A well-executed social media policy contains realistic expectation on the employee pertaining to (but not limited to):

  • Posting about the business culture or workplace
  • Any intellectual property or proprietary information constraints
  • Knowledge learned in confidence of operations (both professional and personal)
  • Reputation or moral issues posted in private accounts depicting behavior or actions not in line with company standards
  • Use, mention, or review causing negative reflection upon the company
  • Contact with clients about company

As well, a strong social media plan with outlined repercussions taken by the employer for violations with a detailed social media emergency plan to counter any negative press should be reviewed by lawyer for legal input.   Much like a trademark, a social media policy with a robust emergency plan might sound like a complex process, but it can easily show employees that social media is a priority of the company and save the company from years of digging out of negative attack from a rogue employee.

BRAND MONITORING – There are many companies claiming to remove negative reviews and company press.  The foresight of a company in monitoring their own brand is vital to reputation management.

Some useful monitoring tools include:

Of course, nothing replaces ongoing monitoring of social media and review sites.  Claiming and monitoring a brand in social media is the best way see an attack the instant it happens and implement the social media emergency plan.

HINT:  Some of these tools are great for monitoring your competitors!  *you heard it here first*

NON-DISCLOSURE – Perhaps the most commonly overlooked way to protect a brand against a rogue employee is a company-wide NDA that prohibits the disclosure of any company details – through online, email, written, or verbal means – during and after employment for a given amount of time.  Most NDAs include offline disclosures such as verbal or writing, but they do not specifically address social media disclosures like online reviews.  While a NDA might not stop a rogue employee from creating an anonymous account for reviews, it does give them pause to think that there is a legal document protecting the employer from social media and reviews by the employee and gives the employer another avenue of legal brand protection if needed.  As social media is, at best, a murky area for slander or libel lawsuit, this extra weapon in an arsenal might be a relief if needed to protect the brand or company against a rogue employee.

REPUTATION MANAGEMENT – Before the Flood

The best way to think about brand management is before a rogue employee is jeopardizing your online reputation.  Much like buying car or life insurance, planning for the day when disaster strikes is imperative to quickly restoring reputation standards as well as setting the bar for behavior with employees throughout the offices.

Many professionals suggest that employers limit access or block social sites during working hours, but the issue remains that the employee is at home more hours than they are at work.  Simply blocking access during working hours is like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.  It creates a false sense of protection.  Protecting the brand and the business online reputation is the only way to be sure that rogue employees know the consequences before sharing on social media and are held accountable if their actions damage the company.

Contact HealthCare Marketing Group today for a free consultation today…

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