Your reputation as a business is crucial to your success. Consumers choose who they hire or purchase from based in part on their perception of the companies offering certain services or products. You also need to maintain a positive image as an employer if you hope to attract the best salespeople, executives and other professionals to help run your organization.
Unfortunately, the internet has made it easier than ever before for disgruntled former workers to cause problems for companies that previously employed them. How can your company protect itself from an angry former employee damaging its reputation?
1. Require a non-disclosure agreement
Whether you employ someone who will work in a top-secret research department within your organization or you negotiate a severance package for a worker who is leaving due to dissatisfaction with their job, you want to make sure they will not use what they learn at your company to harm the business in the future.
Non-disclosure agreements integrated into hiring agreements and severance packages can prevent a former worker from publicly talking either about your organization’s trade secrets or about their negative experiences while working for your company.
2. Have a policy about dispute resolution
Including the right terms in your contracts and employee handbooks will be important if a dispute arises between your company and a current or former employee. Whether they allege that you violated their contract or that you permitted racial harassment in the workplace, you may need to have sit-down meetings with that worker to resolve their concerns.
Some workers try to gain traction for their complaints by airing their grievances on social media and then filing a claim in court. Including clauses in your contracts that necessitate alternative dispute resolution services like mediation can help you resolve concerns privately without the details becoming public record, as they would in court hearings.
3. Create and enforce an anti-defamation policy
Former employees may have a concern that has a kernel of truth at its center. However, they will exaggerate and inflate their claims to make them salacious enough to draw attention. Their statements accusing your company of underhanded practices or mistreating workers could damage your brand and your ability to recruit future talent.
Including anti-defamation provisions in employment contracts, especially with regard to social media, can do a lot to help your company prevent defamatory statements online or counter them when someone intentionally violates your policy. Enforcement actions can result in both financial consequences for the former employee and an apology or removal of the defamatory statements.
Properly updating your employment contracts or drafting them with an eye toward protecting your company from reputation damage can take some of the risk out of onboarding new talent.