5 tips to avoid being labeled “the Meanest Company in America”

5 tips to avoid being labeled “the Meanest Company in America”

Employee Reputation MonitoringIf the first you hear about your employees’ dissatisfaction with your company is via glassdoor.com, then it’s already too late!

And if BusinessWeek labels you “the Meanest Company in America” then your online reputation may already be in ruins. Not that Dish Network appears to be suffering financially, but you can’t help but wonder just how much better the company might be doing, if only it cared enough about its workforce.

With Trackur’s social media monitoring, you can keep a watchful eye on the chatter of your employees. Not that we would endorse anything creepy, but if your media monitoring identifies a tweet, update or blog post that suggests anything other than delighted employees, then you need to be made aware. Better than being made aware, you need to fix the problem, and here’s how.

[highlight color=”yellow”]Tip #1 – Be a transparent CEO[/highlight]

Since writing Radically Transparent, the word “transparency” has been thrown around and abused more than angry hockey player’s glove. Being transparent with your employees does not mean corporate nakedness, it simply means being authentic and not lying. You don’t have to tell them every little detail–which is likely illegal if you’re a public company–but you should not mislead them either!

[highlight color=”yellow”]Tip #2 – Keep employees updated[/highlight]

While you’re being authentic, how about keeping employees updated with the progress of your company. I don’t just mean the highlights published to your blog, but take the time to sit down internally and share the ups and downs of your company. Some of the best efforts I’ve ever had from my employees has been right after sharing a challenge we face as a company. When you trust your employees with more information than they “need to know” they take greater ownership in the company.

[highlight color=”yellow”]Tip #3 – Keep the conversation door open[/highlight]

Is your conversation door closed? While there may be times when your physical door is shut, you should always be open to feedback and insights from your employees. If your staff don’t feel like they can come to you with feedback or concerns, then they may just vent them on their blog or Twitter account–along with a note that your company doesn’t seem to care or listen.

[highlight color=”yellow”]Tip #4 – Thank your whistle blowers[/highlight]

I’ve been a whistle blower at a previous company. I was treated with disdain and distrust. There’s nothing like bringing concerns about a major issue with your company’s accounts receivables and bad debt and being labeled a troublemaker. Create an environment where your employees feel comfortable bringing you bad news. Of course, no one wants to hear it, but try to show some empathy. That employee likely agonized over whether to bring up the topic. If they had the kahunas to do so, rather than just quit, you should thank them. More than that, you should show you take their concerns seriously!

[highlight color=”yellow”]Tip #5 – Get buy-in for any social media policies[/highlight]

For years I was dead set against any kind of “social media policy” –especially any kind of handbook! It was my belief that any attempt to control what was being said online would end up creating an environment where employees would be too scared to say anything about their employer, so just keep quiet. I’ve softened that stance some, but with an important caveat. You cannot simply roll out a social media policy and expect it to be followed without question–that is a recipe for an online reputation disaster! The key? Sit down with your employees–at least some of them–and get their input on what should and should not make it into the company’s social media handbook. You’ll be surprised at just how social media savvy your staff are and, with them being a big part of its construction, they will more likely take ownership of the guidelines put in place.

The list is not exhaustive, but I suspect many of you will barely be able to implement 2 of the above 5, so I didn’t want to overburden you. That said, if I’ve missed anything you feel is vital, please leave a comment, so we can add it to the list!

ByAndy Beal

Andy Beal is The Original Online Reputation Expert™. A bestselling author of two critically-acclaimed reputation management books, a keynote speaker at dozens of events, and brand consultant experience with thousands of individuals and companies.