Glassdoor Gives Employees a Voice — Here’s Why You Should Listen to It

This is the second of two blogs discussing how I feel Glassdoor is a helpful tool for HR professionals. In the last one, I talked about how it should be part of any organization’s talent attraction strategy and its use to recruiters specifically. In this blog, I’m going to talk about how it has wider possible uses for HR professionals beyond recruitment, and in particular some links to employee engagement.

I’ve blogged a few times about employee engagement and have touched on how social media can be used to help with this (see here and here).

So if you’re a recruiter, we know already why you’d be fussed about Glassdoor and other related sites, but what about if you’re in more general HR and rarely, if ever, do any recruitment? Why should you be bothered about it at all?

Some in HR, and the wider organization, will be cynical of the whole concept after reading about how one man played the system with TripAdvisor (which adopts a similar feedback mechanism) and got his entirely fictional restaurant in his shed to be ranked the top restaurant to go to in London — and who could blame them?

But it’s up to us in HR to prove its worth.

Aside from the reviews by job seekers and ex-employees, Glassdoor allows current employees to provide feedback on the company and a range of different things within it, including the CEO. I am not sure how many CEOs are aware of their approval ratings, but it’s a good insight into their leadership style and a great conversation starter with any CEO.

[Related: Different Types of CEOS and How to Work with Them]

People Management recently ran an article in a similar vein to this blog. In this, a recruitment expert comments that Glassdoor is part of a wider movement towards more transparency in organizations, and while he was talking about how a company is perceived by those who might apply for a job there, the same is true internally too.

An example in the PM article comes from Lookers, a company that is using Glassdoor to capture employee feedback and measure engagement rather than using traditional surveys or even some of the newer apps. The company tells its employees that if they have feedback on any aspect of organizational life, they should post it on Glassdoor for everyone to see. As a result, they are ranked 6th in Glassdoor’s own ratings system.

Yes, companies that do this open themselves up to negative comments and have to be comfortable with a lack of control. And yes, many companies’ cultures won’t be ready for this, but remember: Things tend to average themselves out over a longer period, and many people browsing any review site are able to look at them with a discerning eye.

The key is getting more volume of feedback to enable this to happen, as is having someone in the company looking at each piece of feedback (ideally us in HR) and acting on it, whether it is just to acknowledge it or to do something about it. And in that sense it’s no different than any traditional employee engagement mechanism — the more people feel they are being listened to, the more they will use the feedback mechanism and trust in it.

So to encourage all employees to leave feedback on any aspect of organizational life is a bold step, but one that could pay dividends for an organization.

[Related: Responding to Glassdoor Reviews: What, Why and How]

I’ve also used Glassdoor to work on employee engagement, but as part of a wider strategy and not necessarily as a deliberate tactic, though I can’t deny that it does help.

If employees have a voice in your organization, then let them use it, Lookers style, to tell you things. And if those things are public, so be it.

I have encouraged current employees to leave reviews of the company on Glassdoor and asked them to get colleagues to do so too, and that worked well. I’ve involved employees in designing and creating content to go on Glassdoor for the company page — images, videos and information — and let them have a say in how the company is portrayed.

And I’ve gotten groups of employees to look at the feedback that has been left on Glassdoor and to help us determine how we could and should respond to it.

Used in tandem with other engagement methods, and as part of a culture of continuous improvement and feedback, it’s worked really well. But the culture has to be right for this to work.

If your employees are already used to using social media to share what they do and collaborate with others, they’ll take to this. If managers are used to giving and receiving feedback and using it for improvement purposes, they’ll take to this.

My advice — work on the culture first, but don’t be afraid to experiment and bring in something like Glassdoor as an addition to what you are already doing to engage employees.

It might just work. And what, really, have you got to lose in trying?

This article was originally published on EPIC HR.

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