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  • Samantha Moore

How Employees Make or Break Brand Reputation

Person with a paper bag covering his head with a sad face on it. Negative words like "worst" and "awful" are surrounding him.

The reputation of your brand attracts and maintains customers, business partners, employees, and investors. Yet brand management and reputation remains elusive until HR disasters and/or customer horror stories spur a company into action. The power of reputation and brand is not one to underestimate.

Think about recent companies like Uber who came under scrutiny after inappropriate workplace behavior exposed poor management for not upholding company values. These types of situations -- when you factor in actual cost (lawyers, lawsuit, fines, etc.) -- result in heavy costs, as well as time and resources only to mend the situation and have to rebuild brand reputation.

Because we specialize in feedback at VoiceSifter, we'd like to share several ways you can bolster your risk management and brand protection with employee feedback. As the Wall Street Journal writes, "Employees are generally the first line of defense against events or issues that could damage the overall reputation."

How Employees Can Make a Brand:

GE discovered the potential of employee ambassadors (AKA Happy / Engaged Employees) when they faced the now common problem of not being able to fill open positions. After scouting online profiles, they saw their reputation from an employee standpoint and realized it needed polishing. They soon set the brand ambassador program into motion and its results tell it all: "Within the first month of leveraging its trained employee ambassadors to better tell GE’s story, the brand saw an 800% increase in applicants." With unemployment currently low, leveraging happy employees for referrals is just one example of how they can help boost a brand.

How Employees Can Break a Brand:

On the flip side, let's look at Uber. What happened when an employee exposed both sexual harassment and the company's response to the media? NPR shares that it cost Uber $10 million dollar settlement, 20 employees were fired, and a was CEO lost. Additionally, 56 people received an average payout of $34,000 because of incidents and harassment, according to court documents.

From unwanted media attention to bad reviews on Glassdoor, there are many ways unhappy employees voice displeasure. Using technology that helps surface and detect issues before the damage is done should be considered a wise investment.

Risk Management Solution:

Circling back to employee feedback, having a mechanism for employees to report risks and issues is a must. Most companies offer some form of feedback, but often fail to provide a channel for employees to report whenever issues surface, not just at an annual performance review.

Routine check-ins with employees, surveys, and hotlines are all resources worthy of consideration. Although, even with these resources, a breakdown can occur: either employees are not aware the mechanism exists, or don't know what types of risks and issues they should report on. Strategic communication needs to be planned for in order to navigate this lack of awareness.

VoiceSifter offers companies a text message hotline solution. With our platform, we provide you with all the tools needed to listen to your employees and guidelines and templates on how to ask for feedback and stay front of mind. All feedback is stored on our cloud-based application, making us the innovative feedback solution that can be paired with an existing HR system or stand alone.

We help companies educate their employees about the text-line with templates and personalized implementation plans.


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