We are truly living in an age where image is everything. Without getting too philosophical here, Plato’s “forms” and “shadows” have now become one – which is to say your image is your staffing firm and your staffing firm is its image.
A study carried out by LinkedIn has found that 61% of professionals under the age of 40 are heavily influenced by a firm’s brand image when deliberating whether to do business with it or not. And as we’ve discussed previously, it is precisely professionals below the age of 40 that form the core talent pool for staffing and recruitment agencies.
This is why reputation and image management are suddenly of the utmost importance. No longer can we afford the let our names and images be tarnished or slandered in even the slightest. With the internet making such sleights easily accessible and virtually permanent, while also having an amplifying (and in worse case scenarios, a snowballing) effect on them, it’s important we carefully curate how the working public and the world of talent perceives our firms.
The first line of defense
The first line of defense in reputation management and maintaining your staffing firm’s brand image is actually active rather than defensive. This means maintaining a robust, engaging presence across the whole spectrum of digital platforms (social media included) that promote you in the best possible light.
And not only do you want to promote your firm, you also want to actively engage your audience by offering up useful, practical, meaningful information via blogs, YouTube videos, and infographics.
As candidates can be counted on to do the due diligence and research when seeking out a staffing firm, you want their first contact and interactions with you to be meaningful, honest and leave a good impression.
And that impression should be upon expertise
When we advocate interesting content, we don’t mean it should simply be entertaining. It must also demonstrate a particular expertise, especially with regard to the positions and fields for which you recruit and hire.
A firm that positions itself as an authority within its sphere is a firm that possesses an upper hand with regard to maintaining a strong, positive image.
As a byproduct of such expert, active self-promotion, not only will your safeguard your brand, but you will also draw the attention and applications of those most skilled and suited for your firm.
Dealing with negative feedback
It’s not a matter of if – it’s a matter of when. Someone at some point in time is going to eventually be dissatisfied, perhaps even through no fault of your own, and they’re going to want to let the world know.
This is normal and you should not fear it. But take note: The manner in which you respond will be watched very carefully. If you come across as flippant and quarrelsome, you’ve sealed your own fate and probably did more damage to your own brand image than the original complainant could have ever hoped to do.
Be very careful to respond with honesty, sincerity, thoughtfulness, and a genuine interest in what went wrong and how it could be resolved and prevented from happening again.
Yet still, the basics are the most important
Although times are changing, some basic principles never do. What was true 50 years ago is still true today: If you simply keep your talent happy, which means paying them on time and quickly and effectively responding to any issues they might have, you’ve already won 90% of the image maintenance and brand reputation battle.
After all, it’s our talent we often rely on when securing new talent. Keep them close, healthy and happy and word will quickly spread about the integrity of your staffing firm.