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How Companies Should Handle Bad Publicity

One of the most interesting things that has been happening lately with social media is turning the tables on companies everywhere. Social media has been around for a decade and we were quick to point out employees making mistakes and getting them fired for being inappropriate on social media.


But now, the tables are turning and we're starting to look at employers—especially recently.

Companies: Acknowledge What You Did Wrong And Apologize

CEO apologizes for a company decision that caused bad publicity

The example of US Bank is a great one. They fired a couple of employees for behavior when they were just trying to do a good deed at the holidays. And very quickly this blew up on social media.

What I was most impressed by was how US Bank handled it. They didn't try to make excuses. They publicly apologized. They said this was out of character and they offered both women their jobs back.

Social Media & The Importance Of Employee Experience

Employees at a company with good employer branding

I thought US Bank handled that quite well. But I don't think as many companies are really prepared to handle bad publicity in the age of social media.

They aren't ready to hear that employee experience is something they need to document all the time.

In fact, the best way to counteract having a negative social media experience for your company with respect to its employment status is to just document everything that you can. Build your employer brand. Create continuous content that showcases who you really are as a company and reveals what it's like to work there.

When you're out there allowing your employees to be on social media, when you're encouraging them, when you're showing all the facets of your company, it's a lot harder to criticize you when one bad thing comes up.

But if you're trying to hold back and not be in the limelight and not be on social media, then when something like this does happen and it blows up, well that's the only thing anybody's looking at.

So, my advice for employers these days is to understand that employee experience needs to be documented on social media on a regular basis—on a daily basis, if you can.

The more you can get the messages and the stories out about who you are as a company, the more brand power you will have so that if something like this happens (which, guess what, it will), you'll have enough positive content to withstand the bad press.

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Employees and PR departments aren't perfect. Employers aren't perfect, either.

So, it's not a question of if but when something happens and your company is in the spotlight for not such a great thing, you're going to have a lot of other stuff on social media to balance things out if you document employee experience.

And hopefully, by doing this, it'll help you move past the bad publicity virtually unscathed.


Don't know how to build your employer brand? We can help! Check out our Champion Badge Program if you think your company deserves recognition for its excellent workplace culture, employee benefits, or company leadership!