How to recover your employer brand after receiving a negative Glassdoor review

Helen Jackson
Helen Jackson

In today’s employment market, having a strong online employer brand is vital in order to attract the next generation of talent.

We know Millennials, and the upcoming Generation Z, are far less likely to be persuaded into a role because of salary. Instead, it’s the experiences that a company can offer which features at the top of their ‘wish list’.

As a result, we’ve seen companies turning to the internet and social media to share their story with clients, colleagues and future employees. It’s now commonplace for firms to post photos of social events on Instagram, share thought-leadership content on LinkedIn or engage with their market in tweets. All of this leaves an employer branding footprint, accessible for a candidate from the comfort of their sofa – something that job seekers, as savvy consumers, do: 62% of those asked said they would use social media to evaluate a potential employer’s employer brand prior to making an application.

Yet, while the internet can be a highly effective tool for an employer in creating a positive brand, it provides challenges in equal measure.

Companies no longer have absolute control of how they are perceived thanks to the growth of employer review websites, such as Glassdoor and Indeed, which make it only too easy for the discontented to have their say too – a phenomenon that would have been inconceivable less than a decade ago.

However, despite this being a relatively new trend, it’s one that is changing the way that job seekers operate: 69% of job seekers on Glassdoor stated they wouldn’t take a job with a company with a “bad” reputation.

And so, the question is: can you bounce back from a negative review?

Well, the short answer is yes. Below, are 3 simple steps you can take following such an incident that will help you protect your brand and continue to draw in talent.

1. Respond quickly and politely

When faced with a negative review, it can seem the best course of action is to just shrug it off and hope no one sees it. However, research shows responding – quickly – is one of the best ways to redeem the situation, both in the eyes of the complainant and others who may read it. A study of Glassdoor users revealed that 62% will have a better perception of a business if they respond to reviews on the site. Conversely, ignoring it implies you are not engaged or simply don’t care about the opinions of candidates or employees.

In terms of what to write, there’s no need to apologise. Instead, thank them for bringing the matter to your attention, directly address any issues raised and state how you intend to rectify them. If they have included false information, professionally provide facts to counter their argument. Finally, in any response, make sure you sound genuine and always provide contact details for them to get in touch directly if they wish to.

2. Encourage positive reviews

The sad truth is people are more likely to leave a review of your business after a bad experience with it, with happy employees rarely feeling compelled to share positive thoughts or feelings about their place of work. By actively encouraging people to speak about their positive experiences, you’ll create a team of advocates whose opinions are more likely to be trusted by potential employees. Expressing your gratitude for any positive feedback that you do receive will also go a long way.

Note: this doesn’t mean forcing people to write positive reviews about you. They must be willing, honest and sincere – otherwise people will see right through them.

3. Learn from it

All reviews, no matter how exaggerated they may be, will have an element of truth to them and should be taken seriously. Although you shouldn’t dwell, negative reviews should be regarded as a form of constructive criticism, taken on board and considered. A good first step following poor feedback is to ask current employees if they can see why the grievance was raised and if they believe actions should be taken. If you are worried staff may not feel comfortable telling you the truth, organise a way for them to share their assessment anonymously. Then, listen to what they have to say – you may discover ways to improve your operations and make your culture that much better.

Simply demonstrating to people that you’re willing to address negative feedback will go a long way.

Today’s job seekers are increasingly favouring culture and values, and every employer who hopes to attract the next best talent should be delivering a sincere and personal message about they are as an organisation. Do this, and you should never have to worry about negative Glassdoor reviews.

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