How CEOs Should Handle Negative Glassdoor Reviews

by Justin Reynolds on Feb 22, 2017 8:00:00 PM

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The job search process for many workers includes a thorough review of a would-be employer’s Glassdoor page. There, they can find a ton of relevant information that makes it easier for them to decide whether they should spend their time trying to land a gig at a specific company.

Among other things, Glassdoor reviews can help prospective employees find out:

  • How employees feel about their CEO
  • What ballpark their salaries are likely to reside in
  • Whether they’ll enjoy a manageable work-life balance
  • What kinds of perks and benefits they can expect
  • What the interview process will be like
  • What kind of culture they would be working in
  • The pros and cons of working there from current and past employees

As the name suggests, Glassdoor was designed to provide job seekers with a peek into the inner workings of a company they are interested in working for.

When someone’s looking for a job and they head to an organization’s Glassdoor page and learn that the company offers great pay and great benefits and current employees speak highly of what it’s like to work there, they’re that much more inclined to submit an application and begin the interview process.

When a job seeker takes a look at a Glassdoor page and sees that it’s littered with a ton of bad reviews and that nobody likes the CEO, they’ll probably decide to look elsewhere for their next job.

In a perfect world, as the CEO of your company, you’d head to your Glassdoor page only to see that 100% of your workers love you and they’ve given your organization perfect grades. Unfortunately, it’s never that easy. Even Google, which is often considered one of the more enviable places to work, doesn’t have a flawless Glassdoor page.

Having a less-than-ideal reputation on Glassdoor can really do damage. After seeing negative reviews on your company’s page, top talent could decide that it’s simply not worth their time to try to land a job at your company. Since your company will only be as strong as the employees that power it, even a few negative reviews can fester into a very serious problem.

There’s no way for you to control what your current or former employees write about your company on Glassdoor. But you’re not completely powerless when negative reviews are posted to your organization’s page. If your Glassdoor profile may be scaring potential employees away, here’s what you need to do:

  • Establish a presence on Glassdoor: You won’t be able to delete unfavorable reviews from your own Glassdoor account, but you can respond to them. You can also write about what it’s like to work for your company, post pictures of your team in action, and post job listings. Don’t let your Glassdoor page become a one-sided conversation. Create a profile that showcases the positive attributes of your company culture.
  • Check your Glassdoor page regularly: There’s nothing you can do to make Glassdoor take down negative reviews. You can’t even pay them all the money in the world (or at least that’s what the company says). But the platform does give CEOs one tool to fight back with: the ability to respond to all reviews — the good and the bad. To stay on top of your company’s reputation management efforts, set up notifications so you’ll be alerted whenever someone publishes a review of what it’s like to work for your company. If a new review is posted — especially a bad one — take the time to write a thoughtful response and either suggest why the person posting the review is incorrect or how youre working to fix the problem. You may also want to respond to positive reviews, to show prospective employees that you’re engaged and aware.
  • Don’t rush your review responses: If you’re like most CEOs, you’ll probably be a bit ruffled when a negative review is posted — particularly when you think it is unfair. While you might be tempted to respond with a defensive rant, take a deep breath and collect your thoughts. That way, you can respond with dignity and respect — something that won’t go unnoticed. Don’t be petty and don’t attack anyone personally. Double-check your work, and then check it again. Once you post a response on Glassdoor, you can’t go back and edit it.
  • Ask your current employees for positive reviews: Is most of your team happy and engaged? If so, your negative Glassdoor reviews may be coming from a few rotten apples who hold grudges and want to damage your reputation. You can turn the tide by asking your current employees to share their positive reviews on Glassdoor to balance out the negative ones. But make sure that you let the decision to post or not to post one be completely voluntary. Glassdoor will take down positive employee reviews if they determine that workers were incentivized to post them.
  • Use engagement surveys to identify problems sooner: Give your team a way to voice their concerns without using Glassdoor. By using regular pulse surveys to collect anonymous feedback, you can establish a culture of transparency to find and fix problems in your organization before they make their way to Glassdoor. 
  • Act on what the negative reviews are saying: If your company’s Glassdoor page is getting overrun with negative reviews, there’s a reason why. If you’re honest with yourself, you will almost certainly identify recurring themes that are threaded through each review. If, for example, all of your former employees are complaining about how you are a micromanager, it’s time to take a long look in the mirror and rethink your management style. If everyone’s saying that they’re overworked and have no life outside of the office, you need to figure out a way to fix that. If you take honest negative reviews to heart and make positive changes because of them, your employees will take notice. Over time, these changes may very well translate into voluntary positive reviews as your staffers see that you care about making your company a great place to work.

While Glassdoor provides job seekers with invaluable information, it can also be a thorn in the side of CEOs. After all, human nature being what it is, former employees — much like consumers in general — are much likelier to write a bad review than a good one.

By maintaining an active presence on Glassdoor, responding to negative reviews intelligently and professionally, and acting on employee feedback, you can conquer negative reviews and get back to attracting top talent and growing your business. Good luck!

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This post was written by Justin Reynolds

Justin Reynolds is a freelance copywriter, journalist, and editor based in Connecticut.

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