User-generated reviews are now commonplace in all aspects of life (think Amazon and Yelp) and job hunting is no different. Job seekers regularly turn to Glassdoor for honest reviews of potential employers before making career decisions.
Many companies have a love/hate relationship with employee review sites. Namely, they love the good reviews and hate the not-so-good. The hatred towards negative reviews is not about not wanting to hear bad stuff. To the contrary, the frustration stems from the (perceived) inability to directly address reviewer concerns.
Companies can, however, address reviews directly through comments. Leveraging your company’s leadership team to do the responding not only adds a level of transparency to your employer brand, but also empowers leaders to share their thoughts, address issues head-on and show reviewers that their feedback is heard.
“No place is perfect and candid conversation is crucial to any organization’s success. Since we started responding to Glassdoor reviews, we’ve been able to better understand our team’s concerns and pinpoint themes to work on,” says Mike Brannan, Centric Consulting’s National Practice Leader for Technology Solution Services.
Is your executive team hesitant to participate on platforms such as Glassdoor? Totally understandable – it was a learning process for us too. Here are some tips we learned along the way to get your C-Suite on board with Glassdoor:
1. Explain what Glassdoor is – and is not – with examples.
The first hurdle is explaining why Glassdoor is relevant to your stakeholders. One common myth about Glassdoor is that it’s just a rant site. Sure, there can be some over-the-top negative reviews out there, but there are way more reviews that are actually helpful, truthful and legitimate.
To convey this fact, show company leaders Glassdoor pages of companies that have a healthy mixture of positive and negative reviews, along with effective leadership responses. Two good examples are Zillow and Overstock.com. (Personally, I’m a bit partial to Centric Consulting’s Glassdoor page…)
Another common misconception is that Glassdoor is the exclusive playground of the 25-and-under set. For most companies, this isn’t true. Show your C-Suite the stats on your company’s visitors (available on your Glassdoor dashboard). When we did this exercise, we were surprised that we had as many mid-lifers as we did Millennials.
2. Get others to join your cause.
Centric has found that Glassdoor benefits several areas of the organization, not just recruiting. Engage advocates in other parts of your company. For instance, Misty Walsh, Centric’s Marketing Manager, was an early proponent of our Glassdoor effort. “I saw Glassdoor as another channel for Centric to tell its unique story. By encouraging employee reviews and eliciting executive responses, our message becomes that much more impactful.”
Human Resources is another area that can benefit from a Glassdoor presence. “Reading every review provides me with a different lens through which I can view how Centric is operating and then take action where appropriate,” says Matt Henretta, Centric’s Director of Operations.
3. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Tie Glassdoor to your current initiatives!
Centric conducts a yearly Employee Satisfaction Survey. Part of that feedback ties to talent management initiatives and helps us better gauge the effectiveness of our talent management initiatives. If there are areas where our employees say we are struggling, our leadership team will address the issue head-on with extra communication and/or new initiatives.
Your organization probably does something similar. Responding to Glassdoor reviews is just another version of the classic Employee Satisfaction Survey, albeit with more real-time feedback.
4. Let your executives be heard!
Current and former employees leave reviews because they want to be heard. Members of your leadership team are people, too, and they want their voices to be heard. Responding to reviews gives leaders the ability to provide clarity and context to reviewer concerns. “Some of our reviews surfaced some perceptions that I knew were inaccurate and, as a result, I was able to address the perceived concerns by responding to the reviews” said Matt Henretta.
5. Be clear on what the time commitment is — time is precious.
Your leadership team is busy. Even if they are fully on board with responding to reviews, they may still have apprehension about adding another item to their full dockets. So be very clear about what the time commitment and expectations will be when it comes to Glassdoor.
I send a monthly email to a small group of our leaders, assigning them a few review responses each. To make it easy, I include a link that goes straight to the review on the Glassdoor. By batching the work, and sharing it amongst a group of people, the individual effort is more manageable.
To achieve goals, Matt Henretta suggests to, “block some dedicated time in your calendar and treat this time as if you are listening to feedback from a trusted member of your team. Then, be thoughtful in your responses. If you are not ready to commit the time to responding in a meaningful way, your time can be better spent elsewhere.”
6. Show results (and tell stories) to prove the point.
Any leader loves a good ROI story. Give it to them. There is a wealth of information on your Glassdoor Dashboard. Send a monthly summary to the team with pageviews, demographics and overall ratings. Show the improved visibility and engagement your organization is receiving by responding to reviews.
“We also track visits to the Centric website that originate from Glassdoor,” says Misty Walsh, “Data like this helps show leaders how their Glassdoor efforts extend to other initiatives and makes a significant impact.”
But, don’t just include the things that can be quantified. Anecdotal stories can be just as impactful. Pass along the story about the all-star candidate who mentioned how he was blown away that the CEO responded to employee concerns on Glassdoor. Or share the story about the former employee who referred several candidates because an executive took the time to consider their departing feedback. These stories matter just as much as the data does.
Our executive team has been responding to employee reviews for about six months. From all accounts – recruiting, marketing, HR and leadership – it has been a successful program. Candidate applications and Glassdoor engagement has increased. And we have many more positive anecdotal stories to share.
I think Mike Brannan sums it up best: “I look forward to responding to reviews. I learn something every time I respond. I get to talk about a place I am proud of. I hear both compliments and constructive feedback that will make us better. We conduct our business and treat our employees in an open and transparent way – Glassdoor gives us another channel to do that.”