Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones, but Words Can Kill Your Brand

Monday, May 01, 2017

We’re all consumers, and as consumers, we’re continuously looking for ways to make informed decisions about our consumption choices. For example, you see an advertisement for a product which sparks an interest, but a friend advises you against it. What do you do? Go ahead with the purchase, or reconsider?

The truth is most consumers lean on the opinions of peers when making important decisions. So much so, that 82 percent of Americans1 report that they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase. This is the power of peer influence, and it is one of our most trusted information sources; even if the information is skewed or inaccurate.

The same principle applies when we make career choices. We may think highly of a particular organization based on brand reputation, job advertisements, or financial success, but if we hear from others that it is a horrible place to work, we all take notice. The power of peer influence is the reason that employer review sites like Glassdoor have become so popular. In a recent survey of job seekers, almost half2 reported using an employer referral site at some point in their job search. For companies without a plan in place to manage their reputation as an employer, this new reality can have serious implications on their ability to attract, and retain, top-tier talent. This in turn can have long-term consequences on their bottom line.

The companies that get this right are the ones that understand a simple concept—their image as an employer starts with the hiring process. By accurately representing their employment experience during the interview, they are able to attract talent that will be a good fit over the long haul. The result is higher retention and better employee engagement, and with better engagement comes higher profitability. In fact, according to a Gallop poll, companies in the 99th percentile of employee engagement had four times the success rate of those at the first percentile.3

For companies without a cohesive employment brand in place, the outcomes can be dire. Failing to convey company culture to prospective employees can set them up to fail, and subsequently poison the company’s work environment and reputation. Even worse? Unhappy employees go on to share their experiences with prospective employees both in person and online; magnifying their impact exponentially through negative peer reviews.

For better or worse, we are more connected now than ever before, and it is a trend will only continue. Without a plan in place to manage these online platforms, your reputation is vulnerable to the fickle tide of public opinion.

Controlling your image as an employer starts with understanding how your current employees view your existing company culture. If you are unsure how to assess your company’s reputation in the marketplace, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced advisor. The Agile•1 RPO team is available to answer your questions and discuss solutions that will work for your business. To schedule an appointment, email




1 2016 survey conducted by Harris Polls on behalf of Ambassador

2 2012 survey conducted by Software Advice

3 2012 Gallup Eighth Meta-analysis on the Q12