As a consumer, you likely do your research before making a purchase decision, whether it be consulting TripAdvisor for hotel suggestions, perusing Amazon for vacuum recommendations, or reading Yelp reviews to vet restaurants.
So you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the reviews space has recently evolved to include platforms like Glassdoor, FairyGodBoss, and Indeed that connect millions of unique monthly visitors with employee reviews about what it is like to work at a company, from corporate culture, to benefits, to compensation plans.
The research shows that these employee review sites influence people’s choices during the job search, including where they apply for jobs and whether they accept offers. In fact, 61 percent of Glassdoor users look at company reviews, generally at least six of them, before deciding to apply for a job. Much of this comes down to jobseekers caring about a company’s employer brand, which is your reputation as an employer.
All of this might sound overwhelming or scary, given that people can leave negative reviews, but don’t worry. The reality is that all companies, even the best of the best, have the occasional negative review. In fact, the average company rating on Glassdoor is 3.3 on a scale of 5.
This means that even the most highly rated companies receive some bad reviews. Look no further than Bain & Company, which has topped Glassdoor’s list of the Best Places to Work three times, most recently on the 2017 list. The company has a very strong 4.6 overall company rating, with most reviews giving the company a 4 or even a 5-star rating. But, just like any company, Bain & Company has a few reviews with only a 1-star rating.
Employers like Bain & Company know that there is no need to fret over a few poor reviews because research shows that 68 percent of consumers actually trust reviews more when they see both positive and negative reviews. However, the very best employers don’t just ignore these bad reviews and highlight the best ones; they use these negative reviews as an opportunity to show their real employer brand. It doesn’t hurt either that 62 percent of Glassdoor users agree their view of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.
Responding to employee reviews is a key component to any strong employer branding strategy. Consider these three steps for responding in order to turn your negative reviews into great employer branding opportunities.
- Say Thank You
Show the reviewer that you appreciate them putting their time and effort into leaving a review. Kabbage starts off every response by thanking the reviewer for taking time to leave a review and specifically notes that they appreciate what the reviewer shared. This shows jobseekers and current employees alike that your company is open and receptive to feedback, and it proves that you recognize the value of the review. It also indicates that you actually encourage and appreciate reviews, which signals that you take employee satisfaction seriously.
- Address Specific Issues Raised
Most negative reviews will address specific problems the reviewer has with the company. Your company should respond directly to those issues and take the opportunity to explain how the situation is being remedied. Grand Rounds has an exceptional overall rating of 4.4 and was named to Glassdoor’s 2016 Best Places to Work list. Even companies like this, who receive primarily 4 and 5 star ratings, have a few reviews that cite issues. Grand Rounds recognizes this and is sure to address the specific pain points brought up in reviews and what they are doing to alleviate those issues. For example, one reviewer noted that “there’s a mixed bag on role changes. I have seen a lot of people (including members of exec staff) get promoted all the way up from lower roles, but the company still isn’t big enough to have great roles for everybody to grow into…” CEO Owen Tripp responds by honing in on this specific issue “to address some of the ‘mixed bag’ issues you cite” and indicating what they plan to do to address the pain point, which is to have “…our new SVP of Employee Experience … engaging in a talent planning process.” This reveals to jobseekers and employees that you take feedback seriously and use it to better your company.
- Acknowledge the Positive
Glassdoor requires that reviewers leave both a pro and a con. Be sure to acknowledge the pro. Zillow VP of Client Experience JR Gast pulls out the positive from reviews, in one specific instance noting “It’s great to hear the benefits were a huge plus for you and that you really liked your manager.” By acknowledging the positive, you are able to showcase your company’s true employer brand.
It might seem intimidating at first, but once you start responding to negative reviews in a timely, specific, and considerate manner, you’ll see the role this plays in creating a favorable employer brand — and you won’t want to exclude this crucial component from your strategy.
For more information on how you can positively take advantage of reviews, read our article on the Secrets to Inspiring and Leveraging Employee-generated Content.