Many companies are aiming to be more transparent and authentic about their products, services, and costs. For example, McDonald’s has an online FAQ about how the company’s food products are made, while Southwest’s Transfarency initiative aims to give customers a clearer picture of the total fare they will pay, with no unexpected fees.
But when it comes to communicating authentically about the employee experience, companies still have a long way to go.
A new study by my firm, Weber Shandwick, in partnership with KRC Research, found that only 19% of the nearly 2,000 global employees we surveyed feel strongly that the work experience their employer promotes publicly is matched by reality. In other words, what employees saw on a careers site or on their company’s social channels, or what they heard from recruiters, was often inconsistent with what they experienced when they joined the company. Imagine, for example, being
Last month, a Tesla employee criticized the company in a Medium post, spurring a public exchange between the employee and Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO. In November, an IBM employee resigned by posting an open letter to CEO Ginni Rometty, in response to an open letter that Rometti had written to President Donald Trump.
Many leaders expect to be challenged by employees in the privacy of their offices, but there are greater risks when it happens online, in public. Others may pile on, a CEO’s response may be taken out of context, and comments may live on in perpetuity. A CEO’s personal reputation, which is one of a company’s most valuable assets, may be at stake. Employee critics can be far more damaging than outside commentators, due to their insider’s perspective, access to sensitive information, and greater degree of credibility.
Social media has become an important employee communications tool that leaders should