Years ago, nefarious business owners could have worked their employees into the ground, and job seekers would be none the wiser. Save for word of mouth, no one would really hear about how they conducted their operations. So whenever new positions opened up in their offices, there’d be no shortage of candidates willing to apply.
The Technological Shift
Good news for workers: the Internet has shattered that old reality.
Now, thanks to employer-review sites like Glassdoor, prospective candidates who dig deep enough can almost certainly gauge whether an organization is worth their time before applying. Beyond that, employees can write blogs or open letters to their bosses and employers. Thanks to the viral nature of the Internet, millions of eyeballs can read those words within a matter of hours — even if they’re not entirely accurate.
This all spells bad news for businesses. Just ask Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. One of his employees recently penned an open letter complaining that Yelp didn’t pay her a livable wage. It went viral, and while a lot of people trashed the employee for her sense of entitlement, just as many people sympathized with her plight and criticized Yelp for paying low wages. (The employee was fired shortly thereafter.)
It remains to be seen whether Yelp’s reputation takes a long-lasting hit or just a temporary one. But it’s safe to say that Stoppelman is dealing with a headache — one that virtually all executives hope to avoid.
Is There a Remedy?
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to outright prevent your employees from bashing your company on the Internet. This is a free country, after all.
But by treating your staff with respect and really caring about employee happiness, you can significantly reduce the likelihood that disgruntled employees will publicly complain online about your company. To make sure your business doesn’t accrue a sub-2.0 rating on Glassdoor, you can start improving your organizational culture by:
1. Recognizing your employees’ efforts regularly
Yes, people work for a paycheck. But money isn’t the only motivator. When team members do great things, you need to express your gratitude. Send out a group email, write a personal thank-you note, or even stop by an employee’s desk to tell them they did a good job. They’ll be happier, and your Glassdoor average rating will be higher.
2. Embracing flexible scheduling and remote working
Employees no longer have to be in the office between the hours of 9 and 5 to do their jobs — so don’t force them to be. Let your staff work from home from time to time, and also let them make their own schedules. That freedom should translate into happier employees.
3. Compensating your employees fairly
According to our Employee Engagement Report, almost 25% of workers would take a job somewhere else for a 10% raise. Pay your employees competitively, and they’re likely to remain happy at work.
4. Investing in your employees
Only 25% of employees feel as though their organizations offer adequate professional development opportunities. If you want your workers to be happier, invest in their success by making professional development a top priority. Send them to conferences or even allocate a portion of your budget to an educational fund.
5. Communicate — and communicate often
You can choose to shut out your employees or overcommunicate to them. Unfortunately, most companies choose the first. Let your employees know what's going on in the company and always give them a reason behind each decision. The more information they receive, the less likely they'll jump to negative conclusions.
Happy employees don’t bash their employers — at least not publicly. By giving your employees a safe outlet to voice their concerns, you can avoid horrific public shaming because you've nipped the problem in the bud.