biases. They also identified several opportunities in which the use of large datasets can complement traditional hypothesis generation and testing, and they reaffirmed the importance of theory-based models.
REPRINT 58227. For ordering information, see page 4.
When Employees Don’t ‘Like’ Their Employers on Social Media
Marie-Cécile Cervellon (EDHEC Business School) and Pamela Lirio (University of Montreal) pp. 63-70
More than 2 billion people worldwide are users of social media, making it a logical platform for companies
seeking to attract potential employees and engage consumers with their brands. In addition to sharing
information on brand activities through official social media pages or accounts, employees share brand-related information, make comments endorsing the organization’s brand, and display behaviors that are
consistent (or at odds) with the brand values and promise. For companies, the social media behavior of
employees represents both an opportunity and a risk.
Some companies encourage employees to become brand ambassadors to consumers and job candidates
on social networks such as LinkedIn and share the company culture on Facebook and Twitter. However,
the authors found that in the companies they studied, employees on the whole displayed very low brand
engagement on social media. Management was surprised to learn that their employees were not following
the company on Facebook or other popular social media sites. When employees are not fans or supporters
of the company’s products, the authors noted, this can send an ambiguous message to employees’ contacts
and deprive the company of potential supporters.
So what can companies do? From their research, the authors developed a set of recommendations for
encouraging effective employee branding on social media. The first recommendation is to empower a
stable of employee advocates. The authors say employees born in the era of the internet (so-called “digital
natives”) tend to be more active on social media and are more likely to become brand ambassadors for
the company. The second recommendation is to outline the boundaries of employees’ social media presence: When employees feel partly responsible for the company’s success, they are willing to invest in
activities to enhance the customer experience and are willing to exhibit brand-building behaviors
through their digital networks and on social media sites. The authors also suggest fostering employee
engagement with the brand to help employees understand the brand promise and have an emotional
attachment to it. Another recommendation is to make content relevant and easy to share. Finally, companies should reward employee voice. The most effective rewards include listening to employee feedback,
paying attention to employee suggestions, and congratulating employees on their achievements.
REPRINT 58201. For ordering information, see page 4.
Sustainability Lessons From the Front Lines
CB Bhattacharya (ESMT Berlin) and Paul Polman (Unilever) pp. 71-78
The current corporate sustainability movement is unsustainable, the authors argue. Not because companies
are pursuing the wrong goals — but because they are going about them the wrong way. Never before have
companies been more conscious of the need to run their businesses in an environmentally, socially, and economically responsible fashion. Yet never before have theory and practice been wider apart. When it comes
to practicing and not just preaching sustainability, many companies struggle and most flounder in developing and implementing a sustainable business model. Many executives know and feel the importance of
making their businesses sustainable. But many of them can’t make the transformation occur. Worse still,
many don’t even know they’re failing. Based on their experience and observations, the authors identify key
roadblocks to embedding sustainable business models and offer a roadmap to circumvent them.
According to the authors, companies need to recognize that sustainability is not just another change
initiative. Change-management initiatives are usually driven by some external factors or by lack of internal
performance and are typically directed at increasing profitability and shareholder value. Sustainability,
on the other hand, is about people and planet as well, not just profit. Sustainability involves creating
value for all stakeholders in the ecosystem and viewing profits as a consequence of such value creation.
Sustainability also requires a business to look at its entire value chain.