Don’t Let Employee Rants Ruin Your Reputation

Today the realm of employee recruitment spins on the axis of the internet, with virtually everyone using online services to find and obtain the jobs they need. And with that comes a few unexpected outcomes few could have imagined.

Along with all that talk about being able to find the best employees ever, this internet dating world for workers/employers is fraught with pitfalls – all in the name of being “authentic” in a marketplace where every player is by definition aiming to deliver their best game.

Inherent Risks

Glassdoor has become the premium on-site location where employers and employees (past, present and future) connect and reflect on their on-the-job experiences. And when it comes to posting reviews, it’s essentially a free-for-all.

Grounded in the belief that everyone’s opinion is apparently valid, it doesn’t take much for a disgruntled employee – even a high-caliber professional – to write with impunity as though they were still living out some kind of high school vendetta.

Take these posts for example: “Recent negative press coverage has undermined the companies (sic) reputation”, or “a ship without a captain”, and a favorite swipe – “overbearing management”.

It all may be true, or it may not. But now it’s out there, and you need to deal with it.

Unless the comment is truly libelous, Glassdoor largely subscribes to the adage that all comment is good comment. In other words, if people are talking, it gives you a chance to talk as well.

Not all Bad Reviews are Bad

According to Glassdoor, 46% of those who end up applying for a position with your company will read the reviews first. A poor review, and worse yet – a poorly constructed response – can have a lasting effect on your company’s profile.

The good news is, that 94% of those who scroll Glassdoor trust reviews more when they see both good and bad. In other words – you want those reviews there. It’s what makes your company real, and you real. Just like a restaurant review, people eat these things up and take what’s said with a grain of salt. But if the review is devastating, it’s time to take action.

Fight Fire with Water

It’s tempting to fight fire with fire, but it’s far more effective to simply put the fire out. Nothing accomplishes this quite as well as those who see the “bad review” as an opportunity to present their company as a collective of real people, not automatons.

  1. Respond with purpose – Above all, this is when you want to rise above the noise. Always keep in mind whatever anyone writes says more about the author than the reader. So you want your response to be impeccable.
  2. Talk from the top – A communications professional in your organization may be the one to craft the message, but regardless the message needs to come from a high level CEO or Human Resources person. You want those reading these posts, now or in the future, to know you pay attention.
  3. Respond quickly – The faster you respond, the more you control the message. Your swift response sends two important signals – that you’re paying attention the site, and that you care. Both of these speak positively to authenticity. Bad things happen to good people – and most people understand that truism, provided you handle things correctly.
  4. Say thank you. Glassdoor recommends this, even though it may be counterintuitive. But saying thank you to the one who trashed you opens the door for you to talk about important – and common – human resources issues.
    • Saying thank you shows you value recognition, something 83% of organizations fail to do
    • It lets potential employees know you’re open to hearing both sides
    • Acknowledges that no company is an island, and we learn through experience
    • Gives you an opportunity to share however you may have addressed the issue, i.e. change in policy etc.
  5. Use your inside voice. If you write corporate-speak, no one will hear you. Dare to be real, and you will win people over. Glassdoor reminds employees that most job seekers will self-select out. That’s good. You’ll save money in the long run. As I said, this is like dating – and you want the match.
  6. Don’t be shy. This is not the time for anonymity. With the right person responding, encourage them to put their name on the post. Reiterate the nature of the issue, both good and bad, and how the company is choosing to address it.

Online employee recruitment is here to stay. In a way, it gives everyone an opportunity to raise all ships when it comes to employer/employee relations.

While you’re at it, you might want to encourage existing employees to write. This could be difficult, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to have someone post a real story about a real problem that was solved. Change happens. It’s great when it works.

– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.

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