Keeping Up Your Company Reputation
Business Risks: Reputation
In the words of Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and just five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
A strong reputation has the potential to be your largest asset, but just one crisis could irrevocably tarnish your image and ruin your staffing business. According to a recent survey from Deloitte, 87 percent of business executives believe that reputation is their largest risk area, and only 19 percent of respondents think their business is adequately protected.
Health and safety incidents, improper business practices, as well as regulatory investigations, are just a few of the incidents that have the potential to damage your reputation. The failure to quickly and effectively address a crisis like that can result in lost business, litigation, regulatory fines and more.
The Role of Social Media
Social media can be a powerful tool to connect with customers and extend the reach of your business, but it can also be used to quickly spread negative publicity that can severely harm your reputation.
In an increasingly connected world, any negative experience a client or employee has with your business can potentially go viral and be seen by thousands—even millions—of people. Make sure your business has a social media presence that’s constantly monitored, and that it quickly responds to any criticism or negative customer experiences in order to maintain your reputation.
Strategies to Lower Reputational Risks
There’s no such thing as complete protection from risks to your reputation, but there are strategies you can use to limit exposure and respond to a potential crisis, including:
- Create strong, relevant corporate values: Upper management should create—and regularly communicate—strong corporate values that permeate every level of the business. Though these may be created by upper management, they should reflect the values of all of your employees and stakeholders.
- Integrate a risk evaluation into business planning: Identify the opportunities, threats and assumptions that accompany your business’s plans and strategies. Don’t assume that longstanding strategies or well-developed plans are free from reputational risks; instead, develop hypothetical scenarios to identify how your reputation could be affected.
- Promote positive interactions with clients and other stakeholders: You can strengthen your reputation before a crisis occurs by aligning your goals and connecting with your stakeholders. Clients appreciate regular and positive interactions.
- Develop a reputation plan: Train everyone at your company on how to recognize a reputational crisis, and put together a response team. Your plan should identify all potential risks to your reputation and map out a response for each. These responses should include key statements that identify at least three talking points and restate your business’s core values. If a crisis occurs, distribute relevant messages as quickly and widely as possible.
In the event of a crisis, it’s important to respond quickly and decisively and not to sacrifice your reputation to protect finances. Also, respond to questions and concerns. If you attempt to stay under the radar during or following a crisis, it will only cause negative attention to linger. Instead, respond to any concerns and continue to communicate your corporate values. And always remember the broad range of your reputational risks. Following a crisis, it may seem easy to only focus on preventing a similar incident in the future. Be sure to keep all of your risks in mind.
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