Let’s say you’re in the final stages of interviews with a company that you're hoping to join. If you know to do your research, you check Glassdoor, Comparably, or another company review site to see what others have to say about its work environment.
This is what you read:
“Cool job. But not much growth here.”
“My boss was a real jerk. He only criticized us, never praised or thanked us.”
“This is a great job for people who don’t want a personal life.”
“They’re doing layoffs all the time. You never know when it’s going to be your turn. Hard to feel committed to them when they don’t seem committed to us.”
How likely are you to take the job, if offered? Do you awkwardly bring it up in an interview? Do you cross that company off your list?
Job seekers are social media savvy, especially when making a major life decision like accepting a job. They place a great deal of weight on references from others and Glassdoor has certainly become the “Yelp” that they rely on for what it’s like to work in your company.
So, what can you do if your Glassdoor reviews are less than stellar, or, as we’ve seen at times, even repelling qualified job seekers away from your company?
We’ll get to that in a minute. Because before you can fix your Glassdoor issues, you need to fix your company issues. You don’t want put window dressing on a bad situation, which may attract a few people, but will result in high turnover and more bad reviews. You may already know what needs to be done and be in the process of turning things around. If you don’t have in-house expertise for fixing what appears broken to Glassdoor readers, tap into an expert in building great cultures and repairing trust, which are the basis for great places to work.
So, let’s say you’re working on these issues, but in the meantime, you urgently need to hire to run and grow your company. That means you need your Glassdoor to be positive, or at least neutral.
Here is our blueprint for doing exactly that:
1. Own your profile
No, you can’t change the reviews that are on there. But you CAN sign up for your “Employer Page” on the company page and own the content there. This is the number one thing you can do control your messaging on your profile. Here you can directly address issues, talk about the steps you are taking to change your culture or address issues that have been pointed out there.
One company that has always taken impressive care to drive interest in their company on Glassdoor regardless of reviews is Facebook. They continuously update their Glassdoor employer page, sometimes with video messages from Zuckerberg himself, who has an unbelievable 92% approval rating. Prospective job candidates can scroll Facebook's stock price, read the latest news, and read feature stories about employees who have interesting career journeys.
We know one smaller company that went through a bad phase and, as a result, took a beating on Glassdoor. At the peak of the crisis and in desperate need of talent, the Founder returned to the company and was staring down some brutal reviews of his company. He opened his employer Glassdoor page and promptly posted a video of himself telling his employees and prospective candidates exactly what he was doing to turn the culture back to greatness. So far, the strategy is working.
2. Answer the negative comments
Every. Single. One. While it can be difficult to read what people are saying about your company, we have seen success with having the CEO or senior executives responding to the comments directly.
- It shows everyone reading the comment that the boss cares.
- It diffuses the criticism to show that you are paying attention.
- It invites more comments, including compliments.
- It might teach you a thing or two to be up on what people are saying about working for your company, which gives you a jump start on addressing the issues (or giving praise where it is due).
While it may be a tedious task, it will pay dividends in the long-run.
3. Get your employees involved
But not just everyone. And not all at the same time. Nothing could be more obvious than having a flurry of positive reviews by “current employees,” followed by more of the same negative ones as people leave. It looks like you twisted people’s arms to say good things or made them up yourself (and we have known a few companies who posted obviously fake positive reviews that read more like their employment advertisements then real posts – it discredited all their otherwise positive reviews).
Instead, encourage your employees to write reviews—positive or negative. Make sure to focus extra effort on your longest-tenured, happiest or most engaged employees. Remind that sub-group how important Glassdoor is to attracting new talent to the company. Pick a cadence, like 1x a month. Ask a few employees at a time, and let them know it is optional, and you will not be following up to confirm if they wrote a review or not. Only ask each person once. Pick your moments. Every company has high points (and lows). After one of your highs (sales kick-off; new funding round, major milestone, even employee social event), ask employees to help you change the perceptions of your company by posting their feeling about what it’s like to work at your company to attract more great people like them. Make it easy for them by including the link to Glassdoor reviews.
The one option you shouldn’t take if your Glassdoor reviews are bad is to do NOTHING. Because while you’re doing nothing, your very best and most desirable prospective candidates are turning their noses up at you and heading right on over to your competitors. You CAN own your Glassdoor reviews and, in fact, really must.