Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock the past month, you’ve heard about the now infamous Roseanne Barr tweet and the ensuing fallout. Just in case you missed it, Barr, whose career was recently revived after the reboot of her eponymous TV show, tweeted out a racist declaration about a former political advisor. Although she later recanted, it was too late and the damage had already been done. Although management at ABC, the network that relaunched “Roseanne,” had seemingly turned the other cheek in the past on Barr’s off-colored comments, this time she went too far. ABC cancelled season two of the show, putting many people out of work
Although the lost jobs are disheartening to me, there are three things employers can learn from ABC’s response to Barr’s tweet:
Speed wins. Barr’s tweet brought a hailstorm of criticism from her co-stars, from writers on the show, and of course from people weighing in through social media. But what ABC did in response was epic. The network took swift action. How often do we as leaders let an issue fester for weeks before addressing it? How many of us have put off a decision about a problem employee, wasting time and reducing productivity? It’s easy to bury your head in the sand, but it often costs the morale of your other employees.
Actions speak louder than words. Sure, ABC could have issued a response written by one of its many talented PR folks. The network could have had Barr herself write a well-orchestrated apology. They could have even announced diversity and inclusion training, or given a contribution to the NAACP. However, what they chose to do was make it clear as crystal that the morals of ABC couldn’t be bought — not even for a hit show. The separation, in itself, sent a message.
Protect your brand. As an employer, your brand is your everything! Especially if you run a small business, your brand, through word of mouth, is how you secure more business. It’s how you keep business, and it’s a big part of the reason why employees, especially top talent, want to work for you. A problem employee can cost you the brand you’ve worked hard to build. Social media posts, tweets, employees behaving badly at work, reliability issues, attendance problems — any of these can cause your brand to suffer. ABC certainly isn’t a small business, but it’s keenly aware of brand value. The lesson here? Pay attention. Seek good counsel. And finally, take action.
If you have concerns about your employees’ social media presence as it reflects on your brand, you’ll need to speak to an employment lawyer before taking any steps. Contact the team at Staton Law at 404-531-2341 for a free consultation.
About The Author
I’m Felicia Crawford-Smith, sports nut of anything Georgia (Go Dawgs!), “certified” foodie, avid traveler and strong business ally. I try not to take myself too seriously at any given moment.
I have held leadership roles in several industries, including, healthcare, technology, and now, aviation. My HR experience includes talent management, recruiting and staffing, change management, and labor/employee relations. I look forward to sharing some interesting experiences and serving you on this blog.
Felicia’s views do not reflect that of her employer or Stanton Law LLC.