Many companies focus on handling reputational threats that have already happened. That is not reputation management. That is crisis management, a reactive approach to limit the damage that’s already been done. It’s important to focus on a proactive approach to mitigate reputational risks.
How your business has previously responded to the coronavirus and how you move forward can play a big role in public perception and employee recruitment. As much as a good reputation is vital in driving business, it can also reinforce employees’ commitment to the company. That commitment leads to confidence and trust in the company.
Your brand reputation is how the general public—including customers and employees—sees you, thinks of you and talks about you. It’s word of mouth. Consider the following ways to keep your reputation unharmed:
- Put employees first—Keep in mind the health, safety and well-being of employees when making business decisions. Current employees can be the main drivers of your reputation.
- Follow government advice—Lean on local health departments and government for guidance on return-to-work plans and procedures.
- Prioritize safety—You can provide a safe workplace by integrating testing, social distancing, personal protective equipment, sick leave policies and business travel guidelines.
- Keep communication open and honest—Internal communications can help keep employees calm and reduce stress levels. The same goes for external audiences like customers and partners. Keep communication accurate by leaning on credible sources—and be transparent.
- Ask for feedback, and answer questions—Create an open channel or a way for stakeholders to submit questions. Answer them as soon as you can, and provide the responses to everyone.
- Reach out to industry partners—Chances are your industry partners are in similar situations. Share information, and work together with your industry regulators and influencers to move forward.
- Be a thought leader—If it’s appropriate and authentic for your company, identify a business leader who can publicly address impacts of COVID-19 on your industry or customers.
- Give back—On a similar note, give back to your community if you’re able to. A little bit of kindness can go a long way during these times.
Businesses seen responding positively to the pandemic are more likely to survive and thrive. If an issue or crisis does arise, the quicker you respond to and fix any problems within your control, the better off you’ll be. Speak with us at Neckerman Insurance Services for more about reputation management.
© 2020 Zywave, Inc.