Managing your reputation post Covid-19 – Referment

One bad review can last a lifetime. 

As we witness large percentages of workforces being let go, companies are having to literally rewrite the rulebook week by week on how they operate. 

While we wait to see what the new version of normality will look like, there is a ticking time bomb quietly building in the background; the reputation you are creating for your brand, post-covid-19. 

We’ve spoken to a number of colleagues and clients and whilst some are seeing fantastic opportunities in their markets and are hiring to keep up with demand, there are many companies in the UK that are letting people go or furloughing them to help their cash flow. 

It is easy for employees to forget the stress directors and CEOs are going through, but it is just as easy for those in charge to forget the employee’s shock of getting a redundancy phone call. So how can employers navigate covid-19 so their brand is not tarnished when the dust settles?

Controlling the narrative

Do you remember playing Chinese whispers as a kid? One thing is said, it is passed on slightly twisted, and five people later it is completely unrecognisable.

Sometimes, it is inevitable. If a team member is let go and they already have underlying complaints, they might ‘redecorate’ the actual conversation to work in their favour. The best thing you can do; control the narrative! It is a lot easier to direct the conversation and decide the impression you leave in the first place. 

If at all possible, be transparent in the run up to possible redundancies. If your burn rate is £100k a month and you have £200k in the bank, then, in the worst possible scenario, you have around 2 months cash flow. Telling employees about this conveys trust and telling them about potential funding/loans/incoming payments will show the work you are doing behind the scenes to keep their jobs. 

Doing everything in your power to support all of your staff will leave a lasting impression on them. You may have seen sports teams and managers take pay cuts in recent times and if it’s something you can personally afford to do then it might be worth it from a morale and brand perspective. Employees will look favourably upon you if you’re showing that you’re doing absolutely everything in your power to retain staff and jobs.

Using the new government backed furlough system lets you retain staff for the future, whilst the government funds 80% of their wages. If you’re simply seeing a downturn in client activity but are forecasting a positive future, use the furlough system and essentially put staff members on paid leave until you’re ready to integrate them back into your core teams. 80% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Don’t give your competitors the upper hand

There is no escaping the scrutiny companies are experiencing right now. We are seeing it in every industry across the globe as CEO’s are being judged on how they handle this first-time situation. Regardless of the situation, there will always be a competitor somewhere waiting for you to slip up. The question is, what ammunition are you going to give them?

For the staff you have made redundant, you may have to face the fact that they will be scooped up by your competition in the future. Questions will be asked around what it was like working for you, and now more importantly, how did you handle their redundancy and the pressure of covid-19. Sticking to your company values, being open and honest with staff and managing redundancies with compassion will leave a lasting impression on all employees.

The footprint left online will speak for itself, but something that is still within a company’s grasp is managing current expectations and the future reputation of its brand. Control the narrative, give no firing power to your competitors and set the standard so you can have future success in building your company back up, post Covid-19.