The rise of Glassdoor, a website that lets employees post anonymous reviews of how companies treat staff, has turned industrial relations on its head. Richard Harrison, UK Managing Director of Reputation.com looks into the new phenomenon and how companies can manage negative reviews online.
Online reviews, whether left by customers or employees, are a significant influence on how consumers arrive at a purchasing decision or an employee decides if a company has a reputation to be proud of. Businesses need to know what is being said about them online, and how this is shaping the reputation of their company.
Past, present and future employees can now be responsible for an element of the company’s marketing by ‘advertising’ their opinion of that company on sites such as Glassdoor.
Glassdoor is one of the largest career communities in the world. According to Quantcast, glassdoor.com gets 15.7 million unique visits per month, globally. Its leading feature is the ability for employees, and ex-employees, to leave reviews about companies they’ve worked for. The site then uses these ratings and reviews to quantify things like, the best places to work, and the highest rated CEOs.
The popularity of these sites pose a challenge for businesses; not just in attracting and hiring the right staff, but also in how prospective customers and suppliers may view the business. That’s why it’s the responsibility of HR and Marketing to monitor and manage the effect that these review sites have on the reputation of their company.
Reputation management isn’t a black and white issue, and businesses cannot control what people think about them, or how they choose to declare their opinions. Reputation has to be managed, and managed consistently. Businesses need the right policies, procedures, people and tools in place to monitor and respond to situations as and when they arise.
Top Tips for managing employee reviews
Encourage reviews. Remind employees that they can post reviews on Glassdoor or similar review sites, and that these reviews can be anonymous. Don’t try to influence the tone of the review, and don’t make it the job of the manager, or team leader to send out this reminder. A link on the company newsletter, or the intranet, serves this purpose and leaves little room for any kind of pressure to post overly positive reviews. The only useful review is a genuine one.
Show that you’re listening
Listening isn’t just about giving people room to have their say; it’s about hearing what they’re saying and understanding what’s motivating their reaction. In the case of reviews, it’s also about demonstrating that you care about their opinion, and that you’re willing to consider what’s been said.
Monitor what’s being said online
Glassdoor can email you when new reviews are posted, and all businesses should have simple Google Alerts set up to tell them when the company is mentioned. If you don’t know what’s being said about your business online, you can’t respond to it.
The majority of negative reviews are generated due to someone having a less than satisfactory experience at some point in their employment period. Learn from that experience so it’s not repeated. Encourage and develop your employees and find out what motivates them – it will be different for each individual. By creating a supportive and stimulating environment and opening communication channels, employees will be encouraged to leave an online review that genuinely reflects the reputation of that employer and not just what may have been an isolated incident. One way to achieve this is to celebrate success. For example, an issue was raised on Glassdoor, and you spotted it, addressed it, and your Glassdoor reviews got better as a result. . Celebrate this using internal communications channels as a step towards improving your company’s online reputation.
No matter how much marketing budget a business spends on crafting its own reputation, the opinion of people – whether they are customers or employees – will always carry more weight. People trust other people, they may even trust the opinion of a stranger over the marketing messages that are carefully crafted to show a company in its best light.
It’s vital for businesses to take an active role in managing their online reputation, as it’s a key component of their overall competitiveness. Businesses need to attract a spectrum of employees that fits with their business objectives and can positively shape their online reputation as an employer and a business. They can’t do that if their competitors are outshining them when it comes to the opinion of those that matter – the people who make the business what it is.
By Richard Harrison
UK Managing Director