When there’s a shortage of quality talent, candidates can afford to be choosy about the companies they work with. This is particularly true for highly skilled and experienced candidates, who often have multiple companies courting them at any given moment.

So it’s not shocking that with so many great options to choose from, companies with the best reputations rise to the top.

If you want to attract the best talent to work with your company, you need to have a stellar company reputation.

In that sense, recruiting is becoming more like marketing. According to data from Glassdoor:

  • 86% of employees and job seekers research company reviews and ratings to decide on where to apply for a job
  • 75% of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand
  • 86% of women and 67% of men won’t join a company with a bad reputation

Read on for our top tips to improve your company reputation so you can attract and land the best talent.


What is “company reputation”?

Simply put, your company reputation is the public perception of your company and how it operates.

Your company reputation can be positive or negative, depending on your past interactions with employees and customers. However, company reputation isn’t static—it changes or shifts over time.

This can be both good and bad. On the one hand, a positive reputation can quickly slide after a few bad interactions. On the other hand, you can fix a negative reputation if you improve your employee and customer experiences.

Generally, three factors impact your company reputation:

  • Online reviews provide insight into customer and employee interactions with your company, and most job seekers will use them as a screening device
  • Company responses to reviews set the tone for your interactions, which give job seekers a sense of what it’s like to work with you
  • Online presence—from your website to social media—shows the job seeker what you say about yourself, and they often do judge a book by its cover


Why is your company reputation important?

At the end of the day, people want to feel good about the companies they work with.This is especially true in a post-COVID world. Data from Gartner shows that:

  • 65% of employees say the pandemic made them rethink the place work takes in their lives
  • 56% of employees say the pandemic made them want to contribute more to society
  • 52% of employees say the pandemic made them question the purpose of their day-to-day job

In other words, just “having a job” isn’t a good enough reason for someone to work with you.

If you can’t demonstrate that your company is a place where people enjoy working, then you’ll have a hard time landing and retaining top talent.


5 tips to improve your company reputation

As we mentioned earlier, your company reputation isn’t static. By taking specific, intentional steps, you can both protect your positive reputation, or fix your negative one.


1. Deliver exceptional experiences

You can’t fake your way to a positive reputation. In a day where information is democratized, and everyone has a virtual megaphone at their disposal, people are highly sensitive to B.S.

Rather than focus on papering over your faults, you should instead focus on fixing them. Then your reputation will be both accurate and positive. The most effective way to do this is to provide exceptional experiences for everyone who comes into contact with your company:

  • Provide an exceptional product that meets customers’ needs
  • Respond to customer concerns or questions quickly and efficiently
  • Create an environment where employees love to work, knowing that will spill over into their interactions with customers


2. Be honest and transparent

No matter how much you invest in exceptional experiences, there will be times when people drop the ball. Those mistakes will result in upset people, and those people may decide to vent those feelings on the internet for all to see.

When that happens, don’t freak out. Be calm and respectful. And most importantly, don’t sweep things under the rug. Instead, acknowledge problems that occur, and work to resolve them. This almost always happens in responses to online reviews or social media posts.

When people see how honest and transparent you are, this will almost certainly build their respect for you. This, in turn, will bolster your reputation.


3. Be human

It’s 2022, and no one is interested in working for stuffy, boring corporations. If you think your reputation is leaning in that direction, the best thing you can do to fix it—be human!

Every interaction you have is with a human being. And humans generally respond best when interacting with fellow human beings.

Here are some options for injecting humanity into your brand:

  • Treat your brand like a person, giving it its own unique personality and attributes
  • Sign off your messages with a name to show the human on the other side
  • Elevate the stories of employees and customers who’ve had exceptional experiences and are willing to talk about them

Remember that real people sit on both sides of the conversation. The more human your brand, the more people will feel positive about talking to and working with you.


4. Keep your promises

It should go without saying that a top way to build trust among your community is to keep the promises you make. If you say you’re going to do something by a certain time—do it.

Keep in mind, however, that not all promises are explicit. A simple example of this is the buying transaction itself. When customers give you their money, they expect a quality product in return, along with quality customer service. If you don’t deliver on that, then you’re going to disappoint them.

Likewise, if you make promises to your employees that you’ll invest in them and foster a positive working environment, you’d better deliver on it. Otherwise, you’re going to upset them, they’ll leave, and then you’ll see some nasty reviews on Glassdoor and similar websites.


5. Reward customers for positive interactions

Building your company reputation isn’t just about avoiding pitfalls, although those are important. It’s also about celebrating when things go right.

Too long, the phrase “the customer is always right” has caused businesses to waste precious resources to please angry customers who likely won’t do business with you again anyway. Instead, why not spend those resources to reward customers who have been a pleasure to work with?

These rewards can range from off-the-cuff discounts to public social media callouts. The specific tactic will vary based on your customer expectations and your industry. But the spirit is the same across the board: reward those customers who are a pleasure to work with, and you’ll ensure that you have their business—and likely their friends’ business—for life.

Not only that, but when you’re trying to attract employees, you can demonstrate that you put your money where your mouth is, and you reward loyalty to the company. This can help you land and retain talent, because everyone wants to work in a place where they’re appreciated.


Final thoughts: go above and beyond

A great company reputation doesn’t just happen. It requires intentional action on a day-to-day basis.

At the end of the day, the most effective thing you can do to improve your company reputation is to go above and beyond for your people, both employees and customers. Live your values by walking the talk.

The more you give, the more people will respect and appreciate your brand. They’ll develop an affinity for you, and become your greatest advocates. When that happens, people will be lining up to work with you—and you won’t have any trouble keeping them around.

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