You Gotta Have Heart, Especially When Cutting Jobs

Heart and soul. That’s what committed, passionate employees put into their jobs. But what happens when a company needs to let employees go? How do they show that heart and soul? Not be doing what HuffPost did.

The international media company cut positions, but in a ham-fisted manner.

Notifying employees via a meeting invite to attend a virtual gathering and then telling them that those who did not receive an email by a certain time would be assured that they had a job is no way to appear concerned or caring. And it sure isn’t right. It’s wrong at every level.

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You can go your own way…

The days of decades of corporate loyalty are dead. Long dead. Employees, nor employers are faithful to one another. Everybody can go their separate ways at any time. Some states offer more protection for employees, some less. South Carolina is a “right to work” state where employees may be let go for no cause, without notice. But the ability to separate employees from your company does not call for heartlessness. It calls for compassion. Being let go is a source of grief. Panic. Fear.

If you’re in the working world, you surely have experienced the loss of a job. It’s a difficult experience. One which provokes many feelings: Of loss, of grief, of fear. To be told you no longer have a paycheck suddenly feels like the (financial) floor has been pulled out from underneath you. Because let’s face it, we work for money, not fun. Yeah, we get told that we can have fun at work and that our work should be fun, but the paycheck is the vital quid pro quo that most of us expect. As adults, we do know we ought to save money for a rainy day, like when our job is cut, but many work paycheck to paycheck.

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During the SARS-CoV-19 pandemic, companies have had to cut jobs. People understand this. But cutting jobs with a personal touch is imperative.

Show compassion

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Companies who care show how they care with carefully thought out methods of notification, outplacement services, and support for departing employees gain. Simply saying to someone, “You’ll know you have a job if you don’t get an email,” ignores compassion. It displays a distinct lack of caring.

A brand is the sum of every interaction someone has with your company or product or organization. You can have the best products, the best sales staff, the best corporate HQ and leave policies, but if you eliminate jobs in a heartless manner, showing no compassion, it will impact your brand reputation. Brand reputation is an essential part of the value of your company. But showing your company’s humanity is not about money, it’s about being decent. Doing the right thing. For the right reasons.

Be human. Respect the people. Be caring.

If you find your company in the difficult situation of having to cut jobs, stop and think of how the departing employees feel. Build compassion into the process of notification and separation. To do less than this will create a crisis for your firm. Guaranteed. As with HuffPost, you’ll find your company at the center of a social media crisis. You’ll receive vastly more negative attention than you anticipate. Most likely, the savings you may have gained by cutting positions will be lost from your brand equity because you did not plan in advance. And the company will have a more damaged profile among job-seekers. Because they will know that their heart and soul is not respected at your company.

Reputation Management: Can I do it myself?

Your reputation is everything

Your professional and personal reputation is one of the most valuable assets you and your business *own*…except it’s not something you can lock up and protect. As valuable as it is, it can be stolen from you in the blink of an eye by a poor review, a flaming post on social media or by a negative post on a review website. There are many online services which will manage and respond to reviews, mentions, and help monitor to prevent exploits against you and your brand. However, they can be expensive. You can potentially do it yourself if you go about it in the right way. 

What are others saying and sharing about your company? About you? Can you manage your reputation online yourself?

In response to a HARO query, we came up with the following action steps you can take to set up a management system to monitor and respond to mentions and activity around you and your business name.

  1. Develop a crisis communications strategy which allows you to have pre-formatted thoughts and procedures for how to respond to a *wilding* scenario when something flames on socials or forums or blogs.
  2. Make sure you have purchased all the domains in your company name so that you are not vulnerable to people setting up hate sites.
  3. Set up Google Alerts for your name, business name, product names, and any variables on your website and company.
  4. Set up searches on Twitter and other social media around your name and company name.
  5. Select and choose a social media listening/monitoring service, such as Hootsuite, and set up searches around your company, name, product names.
  6. Set up a schedule to regularly monitor all the major ranking and evaluation sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades (if you are a physician), AVVO (if you are an attorney), and others. Respond to negative and positive reviews with a balanced and careful strategy. You should have pre-developed messages of response for all types of reviews, e.g. the product was defective, they never delivered what I ordered, they were amazing, etc.
  7. Claim, update or claim your GoogleMaps and My Business listing. Update your listing with images, posts, and questions and answers. Regularly monitor it for reviews and respond as appropriate.
  8. Set up social media accounts (if you do not have them) for your business and regularly post there according to a social media strategy which aligns with your brand, goals and consumer personas. If you do not have a social media strategy, create one. You may choose not to post, but it is important that you claim your business name on social channels in order that you not lose control of it. On platforms such as Facebook, respond to reviews and monitor for mentions of your company name.

If you are not currently monitoring your reputation, resolve to take care of this as soon as possible. Don’t wait for a negative situation to damage your brand.

 

 

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Book PR and Publicity for Self-Published Authors

So you’ve written a book and now you wonder, what do I do with it?

Someone asked me what we recommend to authors who have self-published.  While we are a PR firm, we specialize in business and professional organization PR. We’ve worked with a few authors, but do not anymore because it is such a specialized area. 

To answer my friend’s question, we developed a list of basic and recommended activities for her.

Book publicity is its own animal.

There are specialist public relations people who help authors promote themselves. That being said, getting into a bookstore is not always the fastest key to success. 

Many authors self-publish these days, and the book distribution system is set up primarily for people who are published by recognized publishing houses. The authors that I have known who have had success have taken steps to get an ISBN number when they publish, and then network with independent booksellers to get those independent bookstores to carry the books. 

Years ago book publishers would do lots of PR for authors. That simply doesn’t happen anymore. If you’re a big-name you get some of that, but even if you’re a big name you still end up coordinating all your own book tours, signings, and promotional activity. The most successful authors are the ones who build up and utilize their social media channels in a very strategic way aligned around the topics that they write about.

If you’re going to invest money in the publicity and promotion of your book, be sure that you choose someone who has an established track record. Working with a publicist to does not have a strong track record is like throwing money down a rabbit hole.

You need the following basics to start your book promotion:

  1. Digital media kit: to include initial press release about your book; fact sheet. This can all be hosted on your website. (Read our article about digital media kits.)
    1. Your publicist should pitch local journalists who report on the book world.
  2. Book Trailer: A short video which introduces your book and you to your potential readers.
  3. Presentation: Talk that you can give at local events: 
  4. Reviews of your book: get people to read the book and leave reviews on Amazon and on GoodReads.com
  5. Local reading/signing events: Connect with local bookshops and libraries around the community and get yourself scheduled in to read passages from your book and sign books. Attend a few at area bookshops to get a feel for how these work.
  6. Regional and Statewide reading and signing events: Focus on the larger cities in your region.
  7. Ramp up your social media to connect with readers who care about your topic.
  8. Special promotions of your book on Amazon: These are special time-bounded events where you promote your book and let people download it for free or reduced price. This is to get the book into the hands of more people and to get more readers and especially reviews!
  9. Book bloggers: You’ll need to identify and connect with book bloggers who review books and share their thoughts across their social channels.

This by no means an exhaustive list of activities and materials. This is a list of fundamentals which you may be able to do on your own to get started with your self-promotion.