How to Turn Around a Negative Employer Brand

A positive employer brand means your company is a best place to work for your target audience. But what if your company is not a best place to work? Maybe a recent layoff, negative press, or a longstanding reputation for low pay is standing in your way of attracting the top talent your company needs.

It won’t happen overnight, but changing your image is possible. Here are six steps to help you turn around a negative employer brand:

Develop the message. Start by determining what new messages you want to send about your workplace. Consider making a list of your company’s strengths and weaknesses as an employer. Then develop a message to highlight your strengths and to counter your weaknesses. Develop a list of frequently asked questions and answers to post on your careers website and to share with employees, recruiters and candidates. Test your new message with employees, and use external focus groups and surveys to refine your message.

Address the culture. If your negative employer brand is a result of an undesirable corporate culture, first take steps to change the culture. You’ll need buy-in from top management, but you must create the culture you want to promise to potential employees.

Incentivize employees to make referrals. Getting referrals from current employees is one of the best ways to build a strong employer brand; if current employees are referring others to your company, they are likely sharing positive information about your workplace. Encourage them to do this by offering rewards for every hire who was referred by a current employee. See video: Get Social and Get More Referrals

Develop an internship program. By building a strong internship program that gives interns a valuable work experience as well as a fun opportunity, you’ll help establish your company as a student-friendly environment and encourage positive word-of-mouth communication about your workplace among students, college faculty, former interns and their families.

Partner with public relations and marketing. Join forces with the public relations and marketing departments to communicate the messages you want to send about your workplace. Explain how establishing your company as a best place to work can positively affect the entire organization, and a positive employer brand can help cement a positive consumer brand. Public relations and marketing professionals can help you craft the right messages for the right mediums to reach your target audience. That might include crafting employee-friendly copy for ads, or placing articles about positive things your workplace is doing in local or industry publications.

Build an online presence. In addition to your company’s careers website, take time to develop an online presence on the sites where your target audience spends time. Those will likely include Glassdoor, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. Develop profile pages that tell the story of what it’s like to work at your company. Use videos, photos and text to share who your employees are, who your leaders are, what your workplace is like and what your company values. And continually maintain those pages, interacting and participating in conversations with your potential candidates.