By Louis Carter, CEO and author of In Great Company: How to Achieve Peak Performance by Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace
Glassdoor, the jobs and recruiting site that allows employees, former employees, and even interviewees to anonymously review companies and their management teams, claims to be one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites job seekers use to research employers, prepare for interviews, and apply to jobs. Glassdoor has a broad following and the importance of good reviews cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, poor reviews for some companies found on Glassdoor can be detrimental for employee recruitment, and customer acquisition and retention.
The Power of Reviews
According to a recent Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) article, Glassdoor boasts that its site has generated nearly 47 million reviews and insights from employees on more than 900,000 companies in 190 countries. The Gartner company, Software Advice, conducted an in-depth study of Glassdoor and found that out of 4,633 respondents, 2,201 had used Glassdoor in their job search.
The hope for any business is that they receive good reviews, but the latest studies reveal that consumers typically report bad experiences through social media sites, (49 percent), versus good experiences, (27 percent). In addition, marketing experts BrightLocal found that 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses, of which 95 percent are between the ages of 18-34 (typical employment age group).
Though you can’t control every review posted about your company, here are four things you can do to counter, or beat the negative reviews, and salvage your reputation.
Empower Transparency in the Beginning
The first way to beat negative reviews is to make transparency part of the culture from the start. Encourage team members during the onboarding section of the employee cycle to be honest in their comments, concerns, and suggestions. As in all relationships, building trust with employees takes time as well as deliberate steps to foster an environment where leadership is open in their communications first. This typically leads to reciprocation from team members.
Create a Social Media Policy
Of course you can’t stifle freedom of speech, but you can help guide employees to the proper usage of social media as it affects the company. Having a social media policy for your business is essential in making sure your employees know what they should and should not do on social channels. You don’t have to start from scratch with your social media policy. A good guide to follow can be found on SHRM as well as SproutSocial. Both let you know what you can legally include in the policy.
Make Performance Reviews a Two-Way Street
In his best-selling book, “Winning,” former CEO of GE, Jack Welch, devotes a chapter on the benefits of candor. Welch explains that frank, honest feedback should go both ways: from supervisory to subordinates and from subordinates back up the chain—and without reprisals. Feedback, if not constructive, can have devastating effects on the recipient. Instead, we should use feed-forward and appreciative inquiry, like what we as managers do well, and what we can improve upon. For example, a manager may have received a 2 out of 10 today on “provides clear direction,” and tomorrow get a 9 or 10. Soliciting constructive feedback during performance reviews allows everyone to reveal challenges and frustrations while at work, rather than later on social media sites.
Request Honesty at Exit Interviews
Exit interviews are essential for determining why an employee is leaving as well as how to make the organization a better place to work. A strategic exit interview program provides insight into what employees are thinking, reveals problems in the organization, and sheds light on the competitive landscape, according to a Harvard Business Review article, which offers six goals companies should focus on during an exit interview.
To prevent poor Glassdoor reviews from exiting employees, set the tone in the exit interview for the departing employee to feel comfortable providing honest feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask employees if they are considering posting any negative feedback on Glassdoor and use the opportunity to address any grievances. If it is an extremely messy situation, you should probably consult with an attorney so as to not violate any contractual exit clauses and to maybe even create an exit agreement, protecting the company from negative feedback.