A company’s employees are its unspoken brand ambassadors. They represent the organisation they work for, making personal and professional reputation key.
An employee’s online image can have an impact on the reputation of their employer organisation. Likewise, your employees’ personal reputation can affect your corporate brand.
Recently, Hertfordshire Police came under fire when two of their officers were discovered to have taken explicit photos of a woman while on duty. Incidentally, this came to light only when one of the accused was under investigation over possession of indecent images of children, indicating a history of misconduct.
The Constabulary acknowledged that the officer’s individual action and personal reputation would have “serious implications for trust and confidence” in Hertfordshire’s Police department.
While this is only one recent example, we frequently come across instances when a company has had to fire (or force into resignation) errant employees and reactively manage the reputation crisis emerging from employee misdemeanour.
Employees’ personal reputation can significantly impact the corporate brand
From Condé Nast’s head of video programming, Matt Duckor, having to resign two years ago over allegations of discriminatory behaviour to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigning last year over sexual harassment allegations, the reputation loss of their employees can invoke crisis management response among companies.
Condé Nast conceded that they had to improve their recruitment checks and the Democrats joined the call for Cuomo’s dismissal, both organisations trying to distance themselves from the concerned individual’s negative reputation.
Companies are always at risk from the people they associate with. This includes reputation risk from clients and employees alike. Possible scenarios include unethical actions by C-suite employees, misconduct by employees, negative social media posts by primary stakeholders, and business leaders with negative personal reputations.
A CEO’s reputation alone can account for and affect about half their company’s reputational worth.
Online reputation risks are particularly dangerous for organisations today
In the digital age, inappropriate online behaviour has become a prominent source of reputation risks. With the number of internet users across the world swelling with each passing year – it is currently close to 5 billion – the volume of internet activity is fast accelerating.
Here’s why understanding the social media presence of potential candidates for example is crucial.
With it, there is a steady rise in the volume of offensive or discriminatory online behaviour. Statistics show that in the UK alone, 2% of all hate crimes are being committed online. Even more alarming is that there is a strong correlation between online hate speech and physical crimes.
Now consider that someone with a history of making online hate speech is hired by your company in the absence of recruitment checks. In the likely scenario that they continue to engage in the same pattern of misconduct while in your employment, it may snowball into a crisis for your company at any time.
The cost of a bad hire can be much higher than you think
Inappropriate online behaviour, through social media sites say for example, occurs in patterns that can repeat themselves at the workplace. An employee with such a history, therefore, poses a significant reputation risk to their employer.
If such a risk devolves into a crisis, the potential damage to the company can range from accelerated staff turnover and legal hassles to significant financial losses and a fall in brand equity.
Depending on the role and the organisation, the cost of a bad hire can even go up to $240,000. But as alarming as these possibilities sound, there are ways to navigate this quagmire of risks, and foremost among them is the smart use of technology.
Good risk management begins with online reputation checks
Companies with good risk management practices are increasingly conducting employee reputation checks with the help of online tools like Yoono.
This has become even more necessary in light of data that shows nearly 8 out of 10 jobseekers misrepresent themselves in job applications.
HR decision-makers also agree that a better process of candidate screening and reputation checks can strengthen recruitment systems.
But the sheer volume of information and background indicators available online on individuals means that traditional recruitment checks are no longer adequate to detect employee red flags like propensity to hate speech or lack of cultural fitness with the organisation.
With digital transformation sweeping across industries, it makes even more sense to align recruitment checks and measures with the latest technology.
Technology used for online reputation management
Online reputation management technology now includes third-party specialist tools that use algorithms to search through reams of online data and social bytes on the search subject.
Used in an appropriate and legal manner, it can help companies assess any reputation risks associated with their prospective or current employees, thereby safeguarding their own.
AI-driven reputation checkers can save an employer both time and money by replacing traditional methods that are neither scalable nor efficient.
There is no need to scour through search results when automated analysis simplifies the process through ongoing monitoring and real-time insights, thus acting as a continuous reputation safeguard for the employer.
Doing online reputation checks the right way, the smart way
The key to getting recruitment checks right is often the use of such professional services because otherwise, handling the aspects of legal and ethical compliance can get tricky.
You need to be conscious of the candidate’s rights, data privacy guidelines, and search bias. A credible third-party tool, on the other hand, automates the workflow by incorporating consistency, thoroughness, and compliance while conducting checks and reviews of employee reputation and backgrounds.
Proactive crisis prevention is a good measure of smart reputation management. In the age of the reputation economy, companies can no longer afford to overlook the role of employees’ personal reputations towards their corporate reputation.
And so, it becomes even more necessary to invest in a reputation check service like Yoono to stay ahead of the curve when managing reputation risks and protecting your corporate brand.
Why do companies need data-driven online checks on employee reputation?
Employee reputation checks can act as an extended KYC by identifying areas of concern or potential risk factors in their education, qualifications, employment history, skills, beliefs, online behaviour, personal social media accounts, general search engine results and more.
In fact, data-driven hiring is on its way to becoming the new status quo in the world of HR and hiring, and it is easy to see why.
Usable data on candidates can give you a holistic view of not only their employee potential but also help predict hiring outcomes and improve retention.
With its help, companies can fulfil their due diligence and streamline their employee checks and measures, adding an extra layer of safeguard against potential reputation crises.