HR & Management

The top reasons an employee would be ashamed to work for your company

4 min read

18 June 2015

Former deputy editor

John Lewis boasts an impressive reputation among consumers, staff and rivals alike, making it a tough act to follow. On the other side of the coin, a study from the PRCA has looked at why employees would be embarrassed to admit where they work.

In partnership with Opinium Research, the economics reputation from the PRCA found that a firm’s reputation was among the top three factors involved when Brits consider a new employer.

It comes after a study from Zurich found that more than three-quarters of Brits believe an online reputation is important for the business – although more than half of that number ignore reviews entirely.

According to PRCA, the most important factors for the UK’s jobseekers are:

1. Salary offered – 65 per cent
2. Type of work that is interesting – 41 per cent
3. Organisation’s reputation as an employer and in general – 33 per cent
4. Organisation’s location – 32 per cent
5. Flexibility of work – 27 per cent 

With reputation considered so important, the study also discovered 20 per cent of British workers are embarrassed to admit where they work to friends and family. Interestingly, this spiked to 28 per cent for people aged 25-34, who admitted they were ashamed of their company or industry.

With London Technology Week underway it’s rather fitting the study found that, at 67 per cent, the tech sector has the best reputation across the UK.

Read more on reputation:

James Endersby, MD of Opinium Research, said: “It is clear from our research that reputation is a major concern for the UK’s workforce. Those companies able to succeed in maintaining and projecting a good reputation will be rewarded with a loyal and engaged workforce.”

Here are the top reasons a fifth of Brits are ashamed to reveal the details of their employment:

1. It treats its employees badly – 35 per cent
2. Bad personal experience – 25 per cent
3. The reputation of prominent people in the organisation – 23 per cent
4. It’s not trustworthy – 22 per cent
5. It has bad customer service – 19 per cent
    Its products and service are low quality – 19 per cent
    Negative media coverage – 19 per cent

The firms believed to have the best reputation, which poor firms could seemingly use as an inspiration, were John Lewis and Marks & Spencer at the top, followed by Virgin, Apple, Asda, Tesco and Waitrose.

John Lewis has previously attributed its successful reputation to innovation, while an interview with a representative from the firm ahead of the First Women Awards believed the feedback was due to it being a “friendly and rewarding place to work that offers excellent progression opportunities to talented partners” in addition to “material benefits”.

Tony Langham, chairman of the PRCA’s PR Council, said: “The reputation of an industry or an organisation is integral to those who work within it, and to some people it is crucial to who they are prepared to work for.

“Organisations with strong reputations are more able to recruit and retain the best talent and to get the most from their workforce. A positive workforce can also act as a powerful army of ambassadors for a company and individually help maintain and protect reputation.”

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