Don’t Let an Employee Tank Your Brand’s Reputation

One of the fastest ways for an employee to hurt the reputation of a business is to say or do something foolish on a social networking site. Regardless, many companies still fail to set guidelines or provide training to employees when it comes to social media. Training and monitoring of employee misuse of social media is vital for a business that cares about its reputation. Here’s why.

The Complainer. Go to Instagram and do a few quick searches. You will quickly find that there are a lot of people who hate their jobs. The hashtag #boredatwork will find you over 330,000 pictures; #ihatemyjob brings up 40,000+ results; and, #ihatemyboss is attached to over 1,600 pics. Those tags alone may not damage your company’s reputation, but what if another hashtag on the same photo is your company name? A potential client may search Instagram and discover your employees are ‘bored out of their minds’ and spend their work time taking selfies in the bathroom because they despise working for your company and the people you promote to leadership positions. That’s a sell that you never had a chance of closing.

The Criminal. This is a far less common problem, but what if one of your employees uses social media to try and do something illegal? For example, one man got caught Tweeting a dealer to bring him illegal drugs at his workplace so that getting high could help him get through the day. An employee wasted on the job spells out incompetency, which in turn means displeased customers.

The Nutcase. Sometimes people just lose it. If they storm out and go home during the middle of the day, that’s one thing. If they announce on Twitter that they are likely to get canned for clocking a customer, people are going to question your employees’ capabilities as well as sanity.

The Racist/Offensive Comment. Image is everything in business. Even if the post was meant as a joke, employees saying offensive or racist things on Facebook or their personal blogs could potentially alienate your company in the minds of an entire community.

So, what is the solution? Map out a company policy on social media. Train your staff so they understand employee misuse of social media isn’t tolerated and they understand their jobs could be at stake. Monitor how your employees use social media. Respond immediately to any incident with the potential to hurt your company, even if it is just to say that you are looking into the situation that occurred. After an incident, review policy to see if there is a way to prevent future occurrences.