3 ways office culture can hamper your PR

A sour workplace atmosphere can quickly tarnish your reputation and kill your retention.

Workplace culture affects PR

Company culture is not just an internal concern.

Your reputation can be mortally wounded by a bad work environment, which can lead to a multitude of serious problem. Here’s how a toxic culture can affect your business:

1. Culture influences retention rate.

A high turnover rate is never a good thing.

A revolving door shows that employees are unhappy or treated unfairly, and thanks to social media and company review websites, this can stir up negative PR. Alternatively, businesses with a healthy culture tend to have employees who stick around for the long term.

Southwest Airlines is famous for its incredible company culture. A turnover rate of just 2 percent proves that the company has done a great job of building a culture that keeps employees around.

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We're trying something new called #TakeoverTuesday, featuring some of our best Employees, who also happen to have a knack for photography. Jason is an Employee who has been with Southwest for six years and when he's not working on the Ramp in Little Rock, he's snapping photos, or spending time with his wife and kids. Be sure to check out our story for a behind-the-scenes look at life on the Ramp. Like the series? Let us know, and we'll do more of them. . Jason: "When I capture my photos I try to get perspectives that most people who don't work at the airport get to see. I like to go for more of an artistic view. I use a lot of HDR (high dynamic range) editing because sometimes I like to give it that "painting" feel when I look at it. Here are a few of my favorite photos that I've shared on Instagram (@GulfstreamGuy). I hope you all enjoy them."

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Southwest is also notoriously picky when it comes to hiring new staff. The airline breaks down its values into three important qualities that employees must possess: a warrior spirit, a servant’s heart and a fun-loving attitude.

Finding the right employees allows the airline to highlight brand ambassadors on social media and in other external communications.

2. Culture sets a standard for employee behavior.

How an employee acts outside of business hours can have a devastating impact on your company’s PR.

Social media has made just about everything a public matter. It’s easier than ever to pry into the lives of other people and make judgments about them based on their posts or overall “personal brand.” This can be dangerous for business because customers may judge a company based on its employee’s behavior.

Brand managers must find a way to make the company culture and values evident through their employee’s actions and attitudes. This standard of online social behavior should be apparent from the very beginning, which is why hiring practices are so important.

If a person’s values are conflicting or problematic from the start, it will only cause bigger problems later on.

There is some debate over whether companies have the right to monitor their employee’s social media behavior. However, the reality is that the social media activity of an employee is a public reflection on his or her employer.

To avoid potential catastrophe, a good place to start is by establishing a firm company code of ethics to supplement your efforts surrounding culture fit.

3. Culture supports a unified company vision.

A big part of culture fit is hiring people who share a similar vision. This is especially crucial in companies that aim to support social causes. For example, Patagonia is well-known for its commitment to putting the environment’s well-being first and creating products that enable people to enjoy nature.

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Off to the big leagues. Photo: @fmarmsaterphoto

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Patagonia wants employees to love its products as much as its customers do, so workers are encouraged to spend time using Patagonia products on outdoor excursions. The company is also committed to creating a community within the business, and it often hires based on employee referrals.

Your hiring team must be sure that each new employee not only understands the core values of the business but has the opportunity to get involved and become more passionate about it.

Of course, it all comes down to people. The more people you have who are passionate about your vision, the stronger your messaging — and your reputation — will be.

Manish Dudharejia is the president and co-founder of E2M Solutions Inc. A version of this article originally appeared on the Cision blog.

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