The fact of the matter is: we live in exceedingly social times, where a brand can be created or destroyed in 140 characters or less and employees are constantly interacting with influencers, colleagues, and companies on their personal social channels.
Today’s workforce benefits greatly from increased access to their favorite brands, impact on social commerce and capital, and mobility in career growth. This means that not only can workers sway public perception of your company, but they can also leverage their contacts to find new jobs and showcase skills to different employers.
But just because the power to impact brand and organizational success is shifting does not mean that you no longer hold great power to affect your workforce and your company in return. And, as a wise man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” so here are a couple of ways that you can share responsibility for creating a brand that everyone can love (and a company that everyone will want to work for).
There are few conversations more difficult than the one in which an employee is informed that he or she will no longer have a position at your company. And there are few conversations more important than the one your former employee may have with his or her entire social network upon leaving the meeting.
While we’re often warned not to overshare on social media, the instant gratification of posting an angry message—and tagging a company in it—often wins out over discretion.
Embracing the fact that your employees and former employees all have access to—and a mind to use—social media as a first recourse against an action they deem unfair or undeserved is your best reminder to make sure that you’ve nailed your internal communication before, during, and after a separation event.
Imagine: if your employees know and trust that your primary focus is to get them back to work faster—and that you are prepared to give them the tools to facilitate that process—then those employees will be less likely to take to social media with negative comments about your company. Make sure that you clearly communicate their options through your outplacement solution provider so that they can begin working with their transition coach or finding relevant job leads right away.
If, for some reason, an employee does misuse social media to complain, you can still maintain a positive employer brand by engaging properly. That doesn’t mean deleting social posts, responding negatively, or leaving them unanswered; that means proactively keeping your employees informed and empowered as members of your team while they are employed and reactively answering employees honestly and with compassion should they respond to the event through social media.
Whereas our parents and grandparents once considered a job a lifetime career path, these days, people hold about 11.3 jobs on average between the ages of 18-44.
These days, the job search can happen by accident (a job shared on Facebook by an acquaintance whose company has the perfect open position) or on purpose (strategically liking or following a brand with a social career presence).
People are more motivated to click and apply when they feel like they have no opportunity for growth in their current position or within your company. That is precisely why supporting internal mobility at all stages (including in a layoff situation where there are other open positions within the organization) can be so crucial to retaining top talent and reducing the costs of both recruitment and severance.
Bonus tip: Turn social media into an asset for your company: Encourage your employees to follow your careers accounts and allow them to make smart internal job changes when they are the right fit. And leverage your social channels to celebrate your employees in their current roles (through blog posts, Facebook and Twitter updates, and more). Remind them that they are valuable assets to your organization, while empowering them to take their career with your company into their own hands by giving them the tools, guidance, and access to redeployment and career empowerment solutions that will allow them to make the most of each of their internal opportunities.
We’ve only just begun to feel the power of social media as it pertains to the future of Human Resources. But if you understand that power—and share it responsibly with your employees—you can and will maintain an outstanding brand while retaining your top talent.