No company would dare ignore bad feedback from customers. Nor should it hide from public criticism voiced by employees or ex-employees on its Glassdoor profile page.
Contrary to intuition, bad reviews on Glassdoor can actually give a company credibility. Yes, really. Think about your experience researching a product or restaurant on Amazon or Yelp! As a potential customer, are you really looking for 100% positive feedback or instead a real-world mix of the great, good and "could be improved' to help you decide an important purchase? Job seekers, on a playing field where the stakes are higher, want that truth, too, before submitting their resume to an employer and job they may call home for years.
In fact, when the public sees no bad scores under a company or product profile, 95% suspect censorship or faked reviews are in play, according to a 2013 Revoo Insight Research report.
Bad reviews also give a company a chance (and platform) to comment and reply, publicly addressing concerns and tricky issues head-on for prospective employees and current employees alike, even turning opinion around in the bargain.
Bad reviews can help improve your culture
In a glass-half-full POV, consider bad reviews free and actionable feedback you can leverage to make things better, which will help you both attract and retain talent.
According to Glassdoor member surveys, replies to reviews can positively affect how job candidates see your company and help them decide if you're a "good fit."
Employees, especially, want to feel heard and know that their opinions count. Replies by management help validate that.
Bad reviews help you focus on best-fit candidates
Studies further show that when candidates can clearly weigh options why they should work at your company, they are more likely to convert into full-time employees-rather than decline job offers.
Job candidates want to see the good and the "needs to be improved" sides of a potential place to work and are more likely to say "Yes!" to employment offers after reading reviews that outline both pros and cons of working there. This balanced view becomes increasingly important to job seekers later in their career who naturally require more information-and answers-as part of their career research process. (Sixty-five percent of Glassdoor users have 10+ years of work experience.)
In the end, all this can give employers a better-qualified and better-researched candidate stream, fewer bad resumes, faster time-to-hire and less "buyer's remorse" because candidates go into employment knowing what works, what doesn't and the confidence that management takes feedback and transparency seriously.
Bad reviews give you the chance to engage with employees
By taking a deep breath and marshaling your response before you respond to bad reviews, you can relay a positive company message to both current employees and potential candidates. This not only improves company morale but also leads to more engaged applicants.
For example, lens provider 1-800 Contacts once defaulted to a "Let Our Light Shine!" strategy when replying to Glassdoor reviews, focusing on the positive while ignoring the negative. In May 2014, after a major strategy rethink, 1-800 decided to actively engage employees by responding to their reviews. It paid off across the board, with the organization seeing three times better applicant quality, 88% of employees recommending the company to potential candidates, and a 10x increase in candidate traffic and awareness.
[Read more: How to Respond to Negative Glassdoor Reviews]
Bad reviews are not bad for business
From surveys, Glassdoor has found that 69% agree their perception of company improves after seeing an employer publicly responds to a review, while a full 94% are more likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages their employer brand, which includes responding to reviews.
At first glance, while glancing blows and public thumbs down can make you wince and flinch, bad reviews give employers the chance to engage with employees and potential employees, show they care, and implement changes that, in the end, improve their employer brand and reputation.