• Transform magazine
  • December 11, 2017

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Opinion: You don’t have a Glassdoor problem, you have a problem

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Ahead of this week's Employer Brand Management conference, Kirsten Davidson discusses Glassdoor as a reflection of the employer brand. The conference will be held on 6 December in London

There are a lot of companies that are dealing with any manner of crisis on Glassdoor. Perhaps they’ve just done layoffs and now have to deal with poor reviews on Glassdoor that are affecting their company rating. It might be that they are seeing negative reviews coming from a particular business unit in the organization where they are doing the most hiring. Or, the CEO is unhappy with her or his Glassdoor rating.

“We have a Glassdoor problem,” they say. They want to know what to do about it. And each time, the first thing I tell them is, “You don’t have a Glassdoor problem, you have a problem.”

The problem isn’t that the reviews are being posted on Glassdoor. The problem is that there is a crisis somewhere in the organisation. If you’re reading about it on Glassdoor, you can be sure your employees are talking about it with other employees, with their friends and family. They are likely already complaining on social media. The problem is that there is a problem. The good news is, the feedback you are getting through the reviews is both direct and immediate. Now you can do something about it. Fast.

Companies should address things head on with eyes wide open. Glassdoor is a powerful platform, not just for employees, but also for the employer. The information you receive through Glassdoor is unfiltered and in real time. If instead of seeing it as a problem, you can embrace the feedback, you’ll be able to use that information to turn around and create the positive impact your organisational needs.

Leaders ‘dealing’ with Glassdoor should read the reviews and analyse the data. What is it saying? Does the problem lie within a certain business unit or geographic location? Is it the result of actions by a specific leader? Is it the result of miscommunication? Understand the problem so that you can create a solution.

The first step is to get to work on solving the problem. The second step is to engage on Glassdoor by responding to the reviews. A 2016 Glassdoor survey shows that 62% of job seekers agree that their perception of a company improves when after seeing a company respond. When responding, don’t be defensive. Use it as an opportunity to reiterate your commitment, your messaging and your values. Show job seekers and employees that you are listening. But be sure you are actually listening.

Also, get to work getting more reviews from your employees. This may seem counterintuitive. If you are seeing negative reviews, the last thing you might want to do is ask more people to leave reviews. But there are many people in your organisation who are quite happy and satisfied. Don’t send a single email asking all employees to leave a review. Instead, you might have recruiters ask hiring managers to invite their teams to leave a review. Be thoughtful and smart about the invitation. What you don’t want is to be heavy handed, making employees feel like they are being forced to leave a positive review. This will have an adverse effect.

Finally, embrace it all, the good, the bad and ugly. The conversations aren’t just happening on Glassdoor. During the Q&A session of a recent talk I gave to a room full of recruiters and employer brand leaders, an audience member expressed frustration that Glassdoor doesn’t do more to help employers control reviews. He said, “We spend a great deal of money on our employer brand and now I have these reviews that I don’t want on my page. I feel like I’ve been hijacked.” I replied, “Yep, you’ve been hijacked –we’ve been hijacked, my friend.” We don’t have full control over our employer brands. What we need to do is embrace it all and engage. Engage in the conversation with your job seekers and your employees. Engage in the conversation on Glassdoor, on social media and most importantly, inside your organisation.

The problem is not that your employees are talking. The problem lies in what they are talking about. Give your employees a positive story to share. Be that great story that they can share with their friends and family, with your job seekers, investors, customers and partners. That’s a story about your success. You want to know how improve your Glassdoor rating? Be a great company to work for.

Kirsten Davidson is head of employer brand at Glassdoor

The Employer Brand Management conference takes place on 6 December at 30 Euston Square. Speakers from the likes of Unilever, Diageo SAP, Aviva, Odeon and Dixons Carphone will discuss the employer brand in times of change. Book your place now