Seventy percent of workers would not apply to a company experiencing bad publicity, survey shows

Negative public relations can impact hiring, turnover, sales

Posted July 21, 2017

Negative publicity not only damages a company's brand, but also its ability to recruit talent.

According to the latest CareerBuilder survey, 71 percent of U.S. workers would not apply to a company experiencing negative press. Female workers are much more likely not to apply to a company experiencing negative press than their male counterparts, 79 percent compared to 61 percent respectively.

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 inspires 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)

Survey methodology

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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