The Importance of Online Reputation

online repHow much of a role does social media play in shaping perceptions of your company?

Depends on who you’re asking, according to a recent poll

The study of 225 HR managers and 2,035 employed adults, conducted by Harris Interactive for Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Spherion Staffing Services, found some significant differences in how employers and employees see the importance of a company’s online reputation.

In the study, nearly half of workers (47 percent) said they “strongly agree” or “agree” that, when considering new employment, a company’s online reputation is just as important as the offer they’re given. Just 27 percent of companies, however, said they believe social media outlets are influential in how a candidate views their organization.

Some other findings suggest a connection between companies’ online cachet and satisfaction among existing employees, but declining employer interest in using social media to recruit, retain and rally the troops.

According to the survey, employees who are highly satisfied with their employer’s online reputation are nearly four times as likely to have high job satisfaction (76 percent) than those who are not satisfied with their organization’s online reputation (20 percent).”

However, fewer employers (6 percent) reported using social media to motivate and retain existing employees in comparison to its 2010 study, in which 20 percent said they relied on social media for such purposes. Companies also appear to be turning less to social media as a recruiting tool, with 28 percent of respondents using social media to find new talent; a 16 percent drop from 2010.

Employers would be well-served to reverse this particular trend, says Sandy Mazur, division president of Spherion Staffing Services.

“Organizations must become socially engaged in order to drive key business outcomes such as talent attraction, engagement, satisfaction and positive brand awareness, and reputation,” according to Mazur.

Decisions, including whether people want to work for your organization, stay with your organization, and sing your praises socially are all highly dependent on your ability to be socially engaged and socially adept.”