It could not be denied that reputation is a valuable asset that determines value of the company and its demand for by consumers. Corporate culture as well as ethical standards and underlying values are trends in creation the company favorable image. Clear and transparent external communication of the company assists in building trust that is the main business currency.
◊ Factors constituting risks to reputation and image
By default, any factors threatening image and business reputation are treated as risky and capable of destroying the company activities. Accordingly, any processes entailing dissemination of negative information about the company may cause irreparable damage to its activities. A conflict, in which the company is involved, is one of such processes. When becoming public, a conflict negatively affects the company name.
Nowadays, when information about any dispute may become public through social networks in a matter of hours, risk of destroying reputation created over the years has significantly increased. Due to a conflict, trust relationships with clients and business partners of the company may be destroyed. The process of trust restoration is difficult, long and extremely expensive in terms of financial investments.
◊ Modern tools to mitigate reputation and image risks
To mitigate potential risks, the company should determine approaches to dealing with disputes and conflicts and make them part of its corporate policy. In determining approaches to dealing with conflicts, preferences should be given to modern methods that proved their effectiveness in other countries.
Mediation is an effective tool to deal with conflicts that allows to resolve them quickly and successfully. In its essence, mediation is a negotiation process aimed at settlement of disputes and conflicts where a neutral intermediary-mediator assists parties to overcome differences and to come to agreement.
Mediation process is less formal than legal proceedings, and this may become one of the advantages to parties to the conflict. For example, they may quickly initiate dispute resolution – they just need to nominate a mediator and to decide on some organizational issues.
Moreover, mediation is a strictly confidential process, excluding its recording or public disclosure.
In most cases, timely referring of the dispute to skilled professionals for resolution through mediation delivers a positive result. Parties manage to prevent actions aimed at destroying reputation and image of each other and to resolve dispute with minimal losses to image and reputation. In some cases, the parties even manage to renew their business partnership and develop a common communication policy to prevent similar situations in the future.
1. It takes time, money, and significant efforts to build and restore trust in a company.
2. An established conflict settlement policy may assist company representatives in successful conflict resolution and protection of the company image and reputation.
3. Mediation is a modern legal tool for settlement of conflicts and disputes, that allows to protect image and reputation.
4. Timely referral of the dispute to skilled mediation professionals helps in prevention or mitigation of reputational losses.