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Negative Side Effects of Friends’ Influence

After writing last week’s post, I kept thinking about the opposite effect of having our friends work at certain companies.

As friends, we tend to listen to each other and support one another in times of need. Some of those needy times are when we’re stressed and need to vent. What if the venting is work-related? How would hearing so much negativity from someone on the “inside” affect our perception of their employer?

A company’s biggest asset is their employees.

After reading each comment from last weeks’ post, I tried to imagine the opposite effect:

“Employees are arguably the BEST brand ambassadors for any company,” wrote Cristina Sotolongo. Imagine if these brand ambassadors are unhappy and complaining about their boss, the company and the way things are run.

“This goes back to the need for ‘authenticity,’” wrote Brian Breslin. Being that our brand ambassadors are our friends, we’ll believe them and more than likely take their side and look down on the company that makes them so unhappy.

“Even if we aren’t altogether familiar with a company or how it works, I think we have a tendency to give it a chance if people we trust are working in its behalf,” wrote Eileen Spiegler. Again, if the people we trust aren’t happy, we’ll more than likely put the blame on the company.

“Thanks for wanting a front row seat to our new ventures!” wrote Mallory Colliflower. If our friends are happy and are excited to work at a company, we’ll get excited to hear about new developments and become loyal fans, but if they’re not happy, we probably won’t give that company any thought.

We’re always hearing about Word of Mouth and its power. In my opinion, negative Word of Mouth is much more powerful and spreads quicker because people find it juicy.

All in all, companies need to be very careful, more so nowadays with Social Media, to ensure their employees are happy. I know you can’t always please everyone, but employers need to make a conscious effort to listen to their employees. There are several cases where companies have noticed their employees complaining about their job via Social Media and fired them. Then there are the companies that see these complaints and take the necessary measures to make the disgruntled employee happy – those are the companies I admire.



  1. dmcconnell (Reply) on Friday 12, 2010

    Glad to see you’ve turned the lens around and explored this topic. You’ve made an excellent point here in that every local company I’ve formed negative opinions about has earned that reputation through friends who are employees, not through their products.