Your reputation is something that doesn’t happen by accident, it is carefully built. Getting people to know, like and trust you – and rate your expertise as worth having takes time and effort.
Of course, a reputation should be authentic – especially a personal reputation. It’s who you are, and that will make it much easier to build and maintain, because you’re not trying to be something you’re not.
With an organisation that has employees it’s really important that the employees share the organisation’s values. If they don’t, they’ll always be ‘putting a face on’ at work and their actions outside of work can be damaging.
It only takes one member of staff to say something derogatory in a public setting and it can have a serious impact on the company’s shiny image.
It only takes a careless comment
When we’re at work we will usually aim to meet the expectations of our employer, but when we leave work we’re off duty and it’s easy to make a comment on social media without thinking. We all type and hit ‘post’ without thinking sometimes.
One of the Master’s degree students I was lecturing on social media a few years back tried to argue that what she posted on social media personally was none of her employer’s business. It’s a good theory, but it doesn’t hold water. People don’t stop to think whether you’re on or off duty when they read your posts. If you choose to have a profile on a social platform, everything you post influences the reader about you and sometimes, indirectly, about your employer.
Even a joke complaint about another department has a subliminal effect. Talking to a supplier and saying “Oh yes, that’s the accounts department, they never do anything on time,” says volumes about the relationships within your organisation. Sometimes you have to remember that you’re all playing on the same team!
One careless comment and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
‘You only get one chance to make a first impression’
This cliché is true – and if you make a poor first impression it is a long uphill haul to resurrect that impression you wanted to make. The same applies to a reputation that has been tarnished – getting it back is hard work.
It’s so much easier to make a great first impression and then keep reinforcing that.
So where is your reputation being built?
- On social media
- On your website with your content
- In every email your send out from personal communications to your newsletter
- In every piece of marketing material
- In podcasts – whether yours or where you’re a guest
- In video content – including Zoom meetings
- At networking events
- Business breakfasts, lunches or dinners
- Conferences and seminars
- Training courses
- Exhibitions and trade events
- Meetings of your professional body
And it’s especially important where you’re in the spotlight as a speaker or presenter. But don’t think that the spotlight is ever off. People observe and draw conclusions.
Helping your employees to understand and support your values is essential – in fact, it’s a good interview question (or questions) to ask ‘what do you understand our values to be?’ It will weed out those who haven’t bothered to do any research into your company and reveal useful information about each candidate.
Conscious care of your company’s reputation will pay dividends in the long-term.