Negative publicity not only damages a company’s brand, but also its ability to recruit talent. According to a new CareerBuilder survey conducted online by Harris Poll, 71 percent of U.S. workers would not apply to a company experiencing negative press. Female workers are especially intolerant of scandalous and unethical behavior—they are much more likely not to apply to a company getting bad press than their male counterparts (79 percent vs. 61 percent respectively).

“In today’s 24/7 news cycle and social media world, earning and maintaining a good reputation can be a challenge,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, in a news release. “It’s easier than ever before for job seekers to research potential employers. Employers that value transparency and take a proactive approach to issues or complaints will have a better chance of securing trust and loyalty and maintaining a positive reputation that can strengthen their recruitment and retention strategies.”

Negative press and the bottom line

Bad publicity can have a serious ripple effect across companies. More than a quarter of employers (26 percent) say their company has experienced negative publicity, resulting in a hit to their hiring process. Sixty-one percent of these employers combined report fewer job offers being accepted, fewer candidate referrals from employees and fewer job applications as a result of the negative publicity.

Other negative impacts to the business included lower employee morale, higher voluntary employee turnover and a decline in sales.

Bad publicity may turn off candidates from applying—but it rarely deters current workers from leaving their jobs. Less than 1 in 10 workers (6 percent) have left a company because of negative publicity.

Positive press, positive results

While negative news travels faster in our social world, companies should share their positive news to strengthen their company overall. Nearly 4 in 5 employers who have experienced positive press have seen beneficial impacts such as:

  • Higher morale among employees (42 percent)
  • Employees were most likely to share positive things about the company on social channels (36 percent)
  • Boost in sales (36 percent)
  • More job applications (32 percent)
  • More job candidate referrals from employees (22 percent)
  • More job offers being accepted (21 percent)
  • Lower voluntary employee turnover (19 percent)

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,369 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) and 3,462 employees ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between May 24 and June 16, 2017 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With pure probability samples of 2,369 and 3,462, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have sampling errors of +/- 2.01 and +/- 1.67 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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