Something Negative Was Posted Using Social Media. Now What?

Q. One of our employees posted something very inappropriate regarding one of our managers on their Facebook account. Another person showed this to the manager, who became very upset. Our HR department is telling me I can’t fire this person as it is a freedom of speech issue.  Is this true? What about the manager’s rights and our rights as a company to protect our employees?

This is a very hot topic in the hiring and firing world today. Companies need to be very concerned about things like this happening. Unfortunately, most of the time companies are caught completely off guard when this happens. Yet, given the explosion in social media every company that has employees should be prepared on how they will handle this. Consider starting with some sort of social media policy.

I asked Laura Fleming, a labor attorney and partner with the Newport Beach law firm Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth for her advice.

This is a very sensitive issue that depends upon the nature of the Facebook posting.  Under the National Labor Relations Act, all employees — whether or not they are members of a union — have the right to join together and discuss the terms and conditions of their employment.  Thus, employees who complain about management, whether offline or online, may be engaging in protected activity.  Whether a Facebook post is protected depends upon (1) whether the employee is voicing an individual or a collective gripe; and (2) whether the post relates to the terms and conditions of employment, or  is simply an inappropriate personal attack.  Posts which are supported by co-workers, and which relate to the terms and conditions of employment, are likely protected.

Sometimes it can be very difficult to tell the difference between protected and non-protected comments by employees online.  Thus, before taking action against the employee, I recommend that you consult a labor attorney.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Does Your Company Have A Bad Reputation In the Market?

Q. A few years back our company had a bad reputation in the industry. Since then we have changed management and most of the issues are long gone, but our reputation still lingers. We have been told this is affecting our ability to hire people. Recruiters have told us some candidates won’t go forward after hearing the name of our company. How do we go about changing that without spending thousands on a PR firm?

Since the first place most people go after hearing the name of a company is the Web site, I would start there. Most Web sites are all about the company's products or services, other than the “About Us” section which is generally a history lesson on the company.

Consider having a career page, have the CEO do a short video about all the good changes that have happened in the last few years, have current employees give testimonials about the improvements that have taken place, ask a few customers and vendors to be included, and finally share the vision of the company with the readers so they see the difference. Do the same thing on Facebook but here have a dialog with the readers. Let your employees comment and have the CEO comment and reply to comments made by others. You might even hit the issue head-on by stating, ”We know many still view us the way we were a few years back, but take a look at the new company and all of the changes we have implemented to change that reputation.” Let the readers know you know and you have fixed it.

Finally, you will need to get out in the community. Attend networking groups, industry association meetings, conferences and trade shows to promote the “new company.” I would invite recruiters into the facility so they can see and hear the difference. As a recruiter I have had candidates say the same thing to me many times. Knowing the company allows me to address those concerns head-on with candidates. I find candidates open up once they learn the facts about the new company.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Is Your Website a Magnet OR a Turn-off for Talent

Candidate attracted to your website like a magnet. Learn how to use employer branding to attract top talent

Brad and I recently did a radio show on this subject. You can download the entire broadcast of the radio show from our weekly Internet Radio Show on LaTALKRadio.com.

By the way, did you know that you can access our ENTIRE Library of every radio show we’ve produced. At the end of every show, we take the audio file and post it to our website, where you are welcome to either stream it or download it. You can view the Library by clicking here.

In each show we take one element of hiring and retaining top talent – such as employer branding, leveraging LinkedIn to find candidates, or how to probe deeply in the interview – and we explore it from every angle possible.

Back to being an employer magnet.

One element of creating a powerful employer brand is a website that compels, motivates, and excites top talent when they land on your website.

Most companies get a big fat zero if a score could be given for making a website “candidate-friendly”. I’d give a high-five if I could find a company (beyond the large – well-known – classic stories like Microsoft, Zappos, and SouthWest Airlines that are paraded in front of us all the time as shining examples of employer branding) that had even a tiny bit of “candidate-attractiveness”.

What’s involved in putting a little “candidate-attractiveness” on your website hosted on the best uk hosting ?

Here are some ideas you might wish to consider:

  • Vignettes or short stories of employee success
  • A listing of your values
  • Examples of how your employees are living your value statement
  • Success stories of personal growth, promotion, or role expansion
  • Stories of how your employees are active in the local community
  • Human interest stories about your employees
  • Testimonials from candidates and employees
  • A link to social media/networking sites
  • A closed Social Networking presence where candidates can follow the “people” stuff at your company
  • A place to sign up for a newsletter/email about updates at the company
  • Awards given out to employees
  • Blogs written by your employees talking about how wonderful their job is
  • Articles about your commitment to learning and personal development

This list of ideas is endless. There are so many ways to compel, engage, excite, and start a conversation with top talent.

How hard can this be?

Perhaps, it might take a few hours of your marketing department or a outsourced copywriting to put together a little web copy and a few graphics?

I don’t get it.

Why don’t most companies feel it’s important to have something on their website focused on attracting candidates as opposed to the approach that 99% take in putting their product brochure on the web?

The very first thing candidates do when they consider applying to a company is that they check the company’s website out – just like you conduct a Google search on candidates who apply for your open jobs.

Top talent wants to see that you’re a great environment, you care deeply about people, and your culture is compelling. They don’t want to see a company that couldn’t give a hoot about people. They don’t want to join a company where they’ll stagnate.

In the absence of actual information, candidates will gravitate toward imagining the worst case or they’ll become obsessed about the negative information some of your former employees are spreading about you.

By the way, are you monitoring the conversations happening in social media about your company – both positive and negative? If not, you might wish to think about implementing a few basic tools to start monitoring what others are saying about you.

What have you done to make your website “candidate-attractive”?

Any great testimonials where candidates have told  you “WOW – great website – I was compelled to apply because of what I saw on your site”?

I’d love to hear your success stories in employer branding – especially those stories about your website.

If you’ve got a website that you’re proud of as a “top talent magnet” and is “candidate-attractive”, please share the link so our other readers can use you as their role model.

Barry Deutsch

P.S. Stay tuned for our upcoming worksheet to determine if your employer branding is strong enough to attract and engage top talent.

P.P.S. Join our LinkedIn Hire and Retain Top Talent Discussion Group to continue the dialogue around employer branding and website candidate-attractiveness.

Letting Employees Go Is A PR Event

Most have heard that hiring is a PR event. You should make sure that, whether you hire the person or not, they leave your company wishing they got the job. That way, they will speak highly of your company to others that might want to work there. This is especially true in small industries and communities where everybody knows everybody else.

The last thing you want is people telling future potential employees how bad the company or hiring manager was when they interviewed and that they would never work for that hiring manager or company.

Not good PR if you plan on attracting top talent to your company. In fact, a great way to ensure top talent will work for your competitors.

I don’t think some (not all) companies or managers recognize the same principles apply when laying people off or even firing them.

Well they do, and I can  demonstrate this, because I recently encountered bad PR. Twice.

First example

I was recruiting for a Regional Director of Sales in the upper northeast. Because of the weather, it isn’t easy to relocate people there.  The company was in a very niche industry, and because it was a senior level sales job, industry experience was important.

It didn’t take long before trouble set in. Did I mention the reason for the opening was that the previous person was fired? Apparently, the manner in which the person’s boss fired him was at best inappropriate and at worst down right wrong and disrespectful.

The fired employee had spread the word about his treatment all around, stating what a jerk this person was to work for and how he badly he treated people. He also took the time to go into great detail about how he was fired. Now, what I heard when I tried to recruit people was, “I’m open to talking as long as it isn’t for X company working for X?” WOW, what a way to start a search in a small industry in a small geographical area.

This all happened because the VP didn’t see firing as a PR event. The best way to fire someone is to make them think you are doing them a favor, not by degrading them, surprising them, or throwing them out of the building. This VP took a bad situation (firing someone) and made it worse by the manner in which he did it. If the VP had done it correctly, he would have still reached his goal of letting the person go, but he also could have set himself up as a person that cares and people want to work for.

Second example

I live in Orange County, California. Most people think it is part of Los Angeles. It isn’t. For such a large area, it is actually its own community. Large enough to get lost, but small enough that people get to know people. There are so many networking groups that it is literally hard to plan an event because the first thing that comes up is, you know XYZ networking group meets then. At almost any time day and night, every day of the week, some group is getting together. Some groups have attendance in the hundreds and some have less. Regardless, there are a lot and this is how people get to know people in Orange County, California.

At a recent event I noticed a lot of people were saying, “Did you hear about ABC Company and how they did the RIF?”  RIF stands for reduction in force, or in plain English laid people off.  This was the buzz while people were standing around talking before the meeting started. Apparently, some of the people that got laid off were at the meeting and telling horror stories about how the company treated the employees they let go. Many of whom had been with the company for some time.

How many other meetings do you think these people attended in the next week and started telling the same stories? Not to mention all the people at the first meeting perpetuating the stories to their network, colleagues, friends and family. We used to say, this is how rumors start. Now we say this story is going viral. It won’t be long before this company’s reputation precedes them. When the economy shifts, and they need to hire people, it will not be easy.

All because they didn’t think of letting people go as a PR event. An event that impacts the company’s reputation and how it is viewed in its industry and community.

If you found this helpful, please forward it on to others so they will be helped. You can email it to your team, forward it to your network, post on Linkedin or company Web site. Let's help everyone build teams of top talent.

You can join our Linkedin Hiring and Retaining Top Talent group where there is a lot more information on this and many other topics. There are also discussions and on-line articles. CLICK HERE to join and participate.

Our 8 Point Hiring Process Assessment Scorecard is available to download for free. Try taking this and learning if your hiring process is designed to attract, hire and retain top talent. CLICK HERE to download your scorecard.

I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions.

Brad Remillard