A company’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets. Reputation management is a key component that no business can afford to neglect – especially when it comes to attracting quality job candidates and retaining current top talent.

As renowned investor Warren Buffett noted, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that nurturing a positive company image, as well as ongoing reputation management remain key business priorities.

Here are a few strategies to build a strong corporate reputation, and how it can be used as part of your corporate culture.

The rewards of a good company reputation

The days of jobseekers and employees making a career decision based solely on salary are over. Increasingly, professionals want to be associated with an employer that has a stellar corporate reputation.

At the same time, the digital age has created a new level of transparency. Today, candidates can easily research an organisation in order to understand what makes it tick and form their own judgements about the company’s reputation based on the information they find online.

Nurturing strong reputation management

A good starting point towards developing a healthy corporate reputation is to understand what sort of reputation your organisation currently has. Consider surveying customers or employees for a clear idea of how the business is perceived. These surveys can also be used to understand the expectations of both internal and external stakeholders – and whether or not you are meeting those expectations. The feedback gained can offer valuable insights into where your company reputation can be improved.

If it turns out that your company’s reputation is less than glowing, there are strategies available to build your reputation.

Recognise the role of employees in corporate reputation management

Your current team can be valuable ambassadors for your company’s reputation. This makes it important to not only think about whether you are paying your staff a competitive salary, but also what you are offering them beyond their salary. Is work-life balance a priority? Do your staff enjoy opportunities for training,advancement and involvement in stimulating projects? How likely are your employees to recommend your company to a friend?

Consider the opportunities that your company can offer to help employees develop, learn new skills and personalise their career paths. It’s important to build a reputation for pre-empting your teams’ needs and offering what they are looking for – if possible and within limits.

Moreover, reputation management is good business practice as it can also be a major cost saver. Businesses who do not have a positive corporate reputation risk having higher employee turnover rates which in turn implies additional expenses as companies then have to restart the hiring process and need salary premiums to attract candidates to an organisation.

Use your website to promote a positive reputation

Job candidates are likely to scrutinise your company’s website to form their own view of your business reputation. This makes your website a key place to promote an employee value proposition rather than just market products and services.

Consider posting videos showing “a life in the day of” where various employees give job candidates a first-hand view of how your business puts its propositions into practice. Testimonials from staff, and company celebrations and achievements are also worth posting on your website to enhance the company’s reputation, particularly among job candidates.

Harness the power of social media

Social media play a key role in reputation management. As many companies have discovered, social media can offer the best and worst of all worlds. It can be an avenue to positively engage with a wide variety of your stakeholders. Yet it also poses a potential threat to a company’s reputation if negative and/or insensitive remarks or responses by staff or clients are posted on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

In today’s highly connected world, the potential for social media posts to go viral creates the possibility for widespread, and sometimes lasting damage to your business reputation.

This highlights the need for reputation management to encompass social media. It can be far easier to maintain a corporate reputation online if there is an active and engaging management of the company’s social reputation.

Embrace honesty

Trust can play a pivotal role in your company’s reputation, and anything less than complete honesty can quickly undermine an organisation’s image.

Dishonesty, cover-ups and failure to take responsibility for mistakes not only erodes corporate reputations, but can be far more damaging than simply admitting to a mishap or error of judgement in the first instance.

It may be tempting for instance, to adopt a defensive stance in a bid to protect a reputation. But this rarely stacks up as an effective strategy. When companies take errors on the chin, job candidates are more likely to respect the organisation for its truthfulness.

The bottom line is that your company’s corporate reputation is a critical factor in attracting and retaining talent. Taking a planned approach to reputation management can help your business maintain the competitive edge needed to find the right people and retain your top talent to drive the business forward.