Online reviews aren't just for hotels and restaurants anymore. A bevy of company review websites offer a platform for employees of all industries to rate and comment on their employers' workplace culture, salary offerings and benefits policies. And with tens of millions of job seekers actively using these sites each year, businesses can't afford to ignore such important feedback.
Simply put, employer reviews have become a very influential medium in today's job market, as these numbers from a 2018 report on jobseeker transparency show:
Ninety-five percent of workers said that gaining insight into the company's reputation as an employer would either be somewhat important (33%) or extremely important (62%) when considering a new job opportunity.
Key insights job seekers are looking for include company stability (47%), info about salary, benefits and flexible schedules (45%) and potential for growth opportunities (41%).
Negative company reviews are actually better than having no reviews at all: 70 percent of respondents said they would automatically distrust a company with no online employer reputation, whereas only 32 percent stated they would distrust a company with a negative employer reputation.
So what can you do today to respond to negative company reviews by your employees and strengthen your employer reputation online? It all comes down to empathetic communication and a focus on employer branding. Let's get started.
don't ignore negative reviews
Ignoring the negative company reviews your employees leave won't make them go away, no matter how hard you try. And they can seriously impact your recruitment and employee engagement efforts in the long term. In today's ultra-competitive marketplace, no one wants to be a part of a company that doesn't respect employee opinions and grievances, and ignoring such feedback will only make it look like you don't care.
Instead, think of your employees and the millions of job seekers out there as customers — customers of your employer brand. Just as you wouldn't ignore a client complaint for fear of word traveling to potential new clients, ignoring negative company reviews will only hurt your employer brand and cause you to miss out on superstar candidates.
respond to reviews — thoughtfully
Sometimes responding to an employee's negative review too quickly and carelessly can be just as damaging as ignoring the review altogether. So take a deep breath, and follow this strategy for thoughtfully analyzing and responding to each negative review.
read the review a few times
Do this with an open, empathetic mind, and determine if there are any actionable items you can glean from the issues raised. If needed, discuss these concerns with an internal team or other employees to hear additional feedback. Consider each negative company review an opportunity to make positive improvements to your workplace culture.
kick off your response with a thank-you
It takes a lot of courage to leave a review that seeks to improve an employee's workplace, so begin your response by thanking them for their honesty (no matter how brutal) and for taking the time to leave the review.
address each point made
Think of how you can approach each issue raised in the review, and explain the plans that will be put in place to directly improve those aspects of the company.
offer positive company traits
Providing one or two examples of positive attributes of your company and its culture will offer job seekers a broader picture of the organization and its commitment to its employees.
avoid stock responses
Never publish a templated or canned response to a negative employee review, as those show little interest in what the review states and how it reflects upon your company. Responding to each review with a unique, tailored response shows that you care about the feedback (and the employee offering it) and that you're taking the time to consider the changes needed.
get your C-suite involved
For maximum impact on improving your employer branding, have a senior leader of the organization — preferably the CEO — personally respond to the review. This shows both current and prospective employees that cultural change is a high priority for those at the very top of the pyramid.
encourage positive reviews
Those employees who are committed and engaged in their jobs have the potential to strengthen your employer brand online by leaving positive reviews in which they share their reasons for loving their jobs and the organization. Keep in mind, though, that you should never incentivize or coerce employees to leave positive reviews — every single review, regardless of how positive or negative it is, should be a genuine testament to the current state of your culture and employer brand.
offer internal ways to share concerns
If employees have nowhere (or no one) to turn to inside the organization for help, don't be surprised when they vent their frustrations on external sites. So consider creating avenues of communication that offer employees the chance to provide their feedback internally. Whether it's a simple online form, ongoing engagement surveys or town hall events, employees will feel more respected if they know they're being heard — and more empowered knowing that they can contribute to positive changes in the company culture.
start improving your workplace culture today
Addressing major problem areas like workplace culture and building an employer brand strategy can place you on the fast track to improving employee retention and satisfaction across the board. Or if you're looking for a staffing partner for extra assistance in finding the best talent fit for your culture, contact us to start working together today.