Thursday, January 7, 2016
PR for Labor and Firing Practices
Workplaces are changing, and so are best practices in hiring and firing. Firing someone for a particularly insalubrious Facebook post may seem like a good idea to protect your company reputation. But, they may see it as unfair or unreasonably old-fashioned. They might engage the public leading you into a bad PR situation. If you find yourself caught in a difficult public relations scenario based on the perception of bad employer practices, keep these things in mind.
1. Prevent employees from speaking with the press.
Your employees do not have training to act as a spokesperson, so can get caught in the frenzy and what they say may be taken wrong or even misstated.You need a PR plan to handle the problem strategically. Hold a meeting with your entire staff explaining when it comes to the media, it's best if company executives and a PR specialist take point.
2. Let the public know you're learning from the mistake.
Most people understand that employers aren't perfect. Remind them management is an art, not a science, and you're using this experience to learn how to lead better. Tell them you are implementing clear-cut guidelines for employees and administrators alike. Admitting the error and using this to strengthen your practices demonstrates humility and wisdom, helping earn back the respect of your community.
3. Explain the situation.
No matter what a former employee shares with the public, it's advisable to give an honest version of the story from your perspective, along with rationale shedding light on why you made your decision, i.e., their online behavior threatened the reputation of the firm and its community at large. This may help the public understand firing decisions are made in the best interest of employees at every level, not just the executives who must carry them out.
4. Produce positive PR
Now is the time to focus on all the good things you've done. Share information about any awards or recognitions you've received recently, company charitable work, and stories of employees who love being a part of your team. If needed, consult with a communications professional, your marketing department or a PR firm can help generate positive press.
Jonah Engler is a financial expert and an entrepreneur from NYC.