Candidate Attraction and Employer Brand: Lessons from Uber

How much does employer brand affect a company’s ability to attract and hire top talent? Just ask Uber, the San Francisco technology company best known for its ride-hailing service.

Source: mikkelwilliam / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior have candidates giving the company the cold shoulder, according to The Washington Post.

Lack of Stability Also a Factor

Ongoing shakeups intended to address internal issues haven’t helped Uber’s image, either.
High-profile changes include the firing of more than 20 employees as well as the hiring of a Harvard Business School professor as the company’s first senior vice president of leadership and strategy.
Most recently, Travis Kalanick, CEO and co-founder, resigned under pressure.

Media Coverage

Uber has received a great deal of media coverage, and that coverage continues. Yet even when the news is positive, it is often presented in the context of a company facing major problems.
This illustrates the challenges a company faces once its image becomes tarnished. Because of media coverage and the large number of information outlets, it is very difficult to change perception.
Customers and potential job candidates now associate the company with negative practices and instability. This doesn’t bode well for the business of ride-hailing or hiring.

Companies of Any Size

Uber is a multi-billion dollar global company and as such its problems are playing out on the world stage. But small and midsize companies shouldn’t shrug off Uber’s challenges as not applicable.
An employer of any size can find itself facing a similar situation, albeit on a smaller scale. The impact, however, may be just as devastating.
Local media coverage combined with social media comments and employee reviews at sites like Glassdoor have the potential to ruin the reputation of any company accused of workplace wrongdoing.
And without the financial resources of a company like Uber it can be more difficult, and even impossible, to repair a damaged brand.
One thing is certain: Once job seekers and customers start to avoid you, your company is in trouble.

Protecting Your Brand

Small and midsize companies often dismiss employer brand as something that pertains to large companies. For them, the term seems to carry an aura of mystery; they are at a loss as to how to identify and promote employer brand, let alone protect it.
But Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist for Salesforce, a leading provider of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, suggests brand is not elusive or complicated.
A recent tweet from Afshar defines brand in five words: “Your culture is your brand.” And yes, the period is part of the tweet.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.