Reputation word cloud

Employees and employers alike would like to believe that while they undoubtedly do have a relationship, the world still sees them as individual entities, and they are always distinct from each other.

While we’d all like to think that, that’s not always the case, and over the years, there have been countless high profile cases where the behavior of an employee prompted a company or organization to take strict and swift disciplinary action.

One of the highest profile must certainly be Donald Trump. Several months into his current presidential campaign in the US, NBC chose to end their long standing relationship with him, when they removed him as the face of hit show The Apprentice. There were several reasons for the move provided by both sides, but while there’s no denying that there may be more than one reason, we can assume that the views may have been perceived as not in agreement with NBC.

Another high profile case was Dominic Strauss-Kahn, a long time French politician favored by that country’s president, who was pressured to resign from his position as managing director of the IMF thanks to claims of sexual misconduct.

These cases may be different, but they do prove that the actions of the employee can certainly have an impact on their employer. Here’s why you need to consider employee screening when you’re choosing people to represent your company:

  • Whether companies like it or not, their employees are the public face of their organization, whether that means in terms of marketing or trouble with the law.
  • The higher up an employee is in your organization, the more any indiscretions or illegal actions they take will reflect on your organization, even if their actions are unrelated to your business, and taken outside of the work environment.
  • Employee screening before hiring can help, but since these issues often relate to senior employees, it may not be enough to protect your company’s reputation.
  • It’s a good idea to conduct additional employee screening on existing team members before promoting them to senior, high profile roles, for this reason. Just because a junior employee was squeaky clean twenty years ago when they joined the company, that does not mean they stayed that way!
  • Make sure that you have strict policies in place for dealing with potential illegal or improper actions by employees, and take action as soon as you find out about any possible incidents. Remember that knowing about the problem and not acting can be just as damaging if it happens to become public knowledge!
  • Consult your company’s legal counsel if there is any doubt about what your company’s action should be. You don’t want to damage your reputation by keeping an embarrassing employee on the payroll, but you also don’t want to be sued for unfair dismissal!

It can be tough to navigate a scandal related to an employee, and good employee screening practices can help to prevent the problem, in some cases.

If you do find your company embroiled in an employee related scandal, remember that just as their actions can damage your reputation, yours can help it. Make sure that you take the moral high ground, that you act appropriately in these situations, and that you put your company first, ahead of any personal feelings or relationships.

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