When the Trolls Come After You Online, Clapback

With “tons of ways” for candidates (and employees and everyone else) to go online “and talk crap about you all day, every day,” how do you combat that? You “clapback,” says Sarah Morgan.

What’s a clapback? “A clapback,” explains Morgan, HR director for SafeStreets USA, “Is really like just responding to them in a way that kind of backs them down, defuses the situation and sometimes throws a little shade at them, too.”

In a big organization, marketing is in charge of handling social media and knows how to handle the trolls who post deliberately negative and provocative messages specifically to cause trouble. But when employer branding is at stake, HR may have to respond. The tricky part then is how to deliver a knockout punch, says Morgan, “In a nuanced way so that I’m not offending people and then they won’t want to come work for me.”

That’s what Morgan shares in this 5-minute DisruptHR presentation. It’s a three step process, she tells her Raleigh, NC audience of HR people:

  1. Step 1: Establish your online reputation as a compassionate badass
  2. Step 2:Have an escalation protocol to resolve issues — but call out trolls/haters when necessary
  3. Step 3: Recognize and address the useful feedback

She fills in the details for each of these in a way that is both helpful, precise and immensely entertaining.

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