For employees choosing between competing employers, reputation may be more important than money, according to a new survey conducted by New Jersey public relations firm The Cherenson Group.
In a telephone survey, employees were asked whether they would rather work for a company with an excellent reputation that would provide a salary that met their needs, or a company with a poor reputation that was offering a higher salary. Close to 80 percent said they would choose the company with a better reputation.       
According to the research, reputation was more important for women (88 percent) and adults ages 35 to 54 (81 percent). Interestingly, the higher the income, the less important reputation became. For those adults making less than $50,000 per year, reputation was most important (82 percent), while those making more than $75,000 reputation became less of a factor (71 percent).
Michael Cherenson vice president of The Cherenson Group, says that while other studies have linked reputation to a positive impact on stock price and consumer and employee loyalty, this is the first survey to demonstrate that reputation is a currency that is able to sway workers, even in the face of a higher salary.
“The public relations profession has long known that reputation helps build a brand, capture market share, influence behavior and helps organizations achieve business and public policy goals,” says Cherenson. “This study simply bolsters those beliefs and provides concrete data proving that reputation is a valuable asset that needs to be developed and secured.
“Companies would be wise to invest in their reputation and go beyond the simple tactics to develop long-range strategies aimed at building their reputation. Organizations—large and small—need to realize that actions speak louder than words and listening is often more important than speaking.”