Today’s candidate is super savvy, meaning that by the time they apply for a position with your company, they’ve already done their research. According to the most recent Candidate Experience Report by the Talent Board, the average candidate spends 1-2 hours researching jobs and a company and 46 percent said they needed to do more research and learn additional information about the company before they would apply. This research includes reading online reviews and social media mentions about your company from employees impacted by layoffs or downsizing. It is also important to note that the value in review sites like Glassdoor have increased over the past four years from 20 to 29 percent.

Your employer brand exists whether you tend to it or not. It’s always better to be proactive and manage your brand, whether on your own careers page, in the media, on social media, and especially on employer review sites. Monitoring your brand on review sites is especially important if your company has recently had (or is about to have) a round of layoffs. In a case like layoffs due to restructuring, your chances that an employee will leave a negative review are lessened if you give them the support they need upon leaving your organization. However, whether you provide career transition services or not, it’s best to have a plan ready for response.

Related Content: 4 Ways to Make Sure Your Brand Benefits from Outplacement

According to Staffing Advisors, 88% of people claim they have been influenced by an online review (for anything, not just employers). By not taking charge of your negative reviews where you can, you clearly communicate to job-seekers how true the allegations are. 

Monitoring Your Employer Brand

Companies need to keep track of the 17+ employee review sites including some non-traditional ones like Google Places, Yelp and Facebook Page reviews. Monitor your employer scores and work with your team to develop a strategy and or plan of action to address comments and reviews.

Glassdoor and a number of employee review sites are a popular way for candidates to research and learn more about your organization beyond your social profiles and company career site. While anonymous, these sites provide candidates a more transparent look into what’s really happening at your organization. Because of this, it’s very important to monitor and evaluate what is being shared on all social media sites.

Review sites are becoming a more important and trusted part of the job offer and interview process as well as the entire candidate engagement process that starts the moment the prospective candidate begins to consider your company as an option for employment. Above all, it’s important to be consistent in your process regarding your responses to employee reviews -- negative and positive.

Related Content: 5 Recruiting Mistakes You are Probably Making on Social Media

Claiming Your Company Profiles

In addition to ensuring employer review sites are updated and maintained, profiles on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor should be claimed, which means you can verify the profile as an employer and add things like updated photos, descriptions, relevant links, and other information.

There are 20+ million monthly unique users to Glassdoor, the majority in the US, college educated, and 18 - 44. Companies pay a fee to Glassdoor to “own” their company profile on the site, but you can claim yours and post updates, awards, and photos at no cost.

Companies can help positively build their brands on these sites with an internal strategy. Start by requesting that all members of the HR team and marketing to write reviews before you ask your employees to leave a Glassdoor (or other employer site) rating, then encourage your current employees to leave reviews.

Consider the potential candidate researching your company on a review site. They’re reading horror stories and snarky comments. How likely do you think they are to apply to a job at your company? Consider the same candidate reading the same reviews, except with your thoughtful, unbiased, and kind responses. This changes the game; the candidate sees that your company genuinely listens and is, therefore, more inclined to apply.

Any positive policy change within your company, such as adding perks like additional PTO or fully paid health insurance, is an opportunity to return to review sites and respond to reviews that mention “restrictive PTO” or “terrible health coverage” and let the reviewer (and readers) know that you heard their feedback and tell them about the new policy or perk.

Should You Respond to Negative Reviews?

This is a question that many companies ask HR and communications leaders, and ultimately executives have varying philosophies when it comes to responding. It’s easy to dismiss negative reviews on employer review sites as sour grapes from disgruntled former or current employees or candidates who didn’t land the job (especially those anonymous reviews). However, dismissing employee reviews is the last thing you want to do if a positive candidate experience is important to your brand. And it absolutely is.

My recommendation on whether or not to respond is a definitive YES—to both positive and negative reviews. The important point here is communication and improvement, not to discount the negative reviews with a snarky response (big “no-no”). You want to show employees and candidates that your company is listening, acting on, and addressing the reviews. You don’t have to change an entire process based on one negative review, but you can talk about changes you have made.

Reviews like these should be seen as welcome opportunities for feedback to learn, grow, and change. Not everyone feels this way, however, it’s important to educate executives on the whys behind choosing to respond to reviews. The biggest why? A better candidate experience.

According to Talent Tech Labs’ trends report on candidate engagement, 80-90% of candidates say that a positive or negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or a company. Nearly 60% have had a poor candidate experience. These are the people reviewing your company.

If you work for a larger company (and being that there are 17+ career review sites to monitor), you might consider only responding to anonymous reviews directly that have less than three stars, allowing people viewing the page to see you hear them and are working to address their comments and suggestions. Follow the same process when addressing reviews and feedback on Indeed’s (and other review sites) review sections.

Some sample employee review responses:

  • An existing employee leaves a negative, anonymous review: “Thank you for sharing your concerns.  Please know our management team is doing its best to help all employees work through these evolving and interesting times. Your feedback will be shared with our leadership team. In the meantime, feel free to discuss your concerns with our dedicated HR associates.”
  • An existing or former employee leaves a negative review regarding layoffs or restructuring: “Thank you for sharing your concerns. We understand that employee communication is important to reducing rumors and maintaining transparency during these changing and interesting times. Your feedback will be shared with our leadership team.”
  • A former employee leaves a negative review about your company: “Thank you for sharing your feedback on [reference specific complaint and/or department and company]. as it concerns us a great deal that this was your experience in our XXX location. Your feedback will be shared with our local and global leadership teams.”

Related content: How to Manage Your Digital Employment Brand After a Layoff

Responding to Positive Employee Reviews

So, what about positive reviews? They’re just as important. According to the same Talent Tech Labs trends report mentioned above, 78% of job seekers report never having been asked for feedback on their candidate experience. Yet 46% of employers report making regular improvements to the recruitment processes that affect the candidate experience. Therefore, when a candidate has interviewed at your company and takes the time to leave a positive review about your recruitment process, do take the time to thank them. Thanks = engagement. And other potential candidates will not only see the positive review, but they’ll also see that you’re engaged and listening, which in turn encourages more feedback, learning (on your part), and engagement.


Employer Review Sites to Monitor

We’ve put together a top-level list of review sites your company should consider listening and monitoring on an ongoing basis.

  • Glassdoor – Offers an anonymous review site as well as a job search resource for job seekers and web visitors.
  • FairyGodBoss – Employer review site for women. Lots of great opportunities for employers to engage women in the workplace.
  • Google Reviews – Google managed most often consumer reviews. These reviews are powered by the most popular search engine and are worth monitoring.
  • Indeed – Offers an anonymous review section of their website in addition to a forum, job postings and the ability for job seekers to upload their resume.
  • Yelp – This site is most known for customer reviews.  However, it is important for employers to monitor for reviews and feedback.
  • JobCase – Very active hourly work community, forum and employee reviews by location.
  • RateMyEmployer – Canada employer review site that has over 45,000 candidate and employee reviews.
  • Kununu.com – This international review site has its roots in Germany and has recently launched in the United States.
  • Facebook Page Reviews -- Your Facebook Fan Page has the ability to have reviews whether you are selling a product service or on your company career page.
  • TheJobCrowd – Employer reviews for recent college graduates. Includes salary information, graduate career information and employer lists and resources.
  • Vault.com – Company ranking and review site. Includes rankings for colleges, internships and schools too.
  • Comparably – Free for employers to set up pages. Includes compensation, company review and culture.
  • InHerSight – Employer review site for women. Scorecards for employers on how female friendly their organization is.
  • CareerBliss – Review site for compensation, job search and company review information.
  • Xing.com – Company review site that offers job search information. Focused primarily in Germany and European markets.
  • LinkedIn – Currently in beta. LinkedIn will soon begin offering every employer a review and ratings page as part of their company LinkedIn page.

Review sites like these are important because they are becoming a more important and trusted part of not just the job offer and interview process but the entire candidate engagement process that extends beyond the traditional application transaction and begins from the moment the prospective candidate begins to consider your company as an option for employment.

Your employer brand is quite often in the hands of the candidates you interview and employees you hire. Being proactive doesn’t mean you have to dictate or enforce an employee policy with regards to reviews (while technically not illegal, there are compliance issues involved in a policy like that, not to mention the lack of trust it will create among your staff). It means that you get ahead of what will likely be out there and ensure that you present your brand positively and proactively. 

Employee review sites and your employer brand are incredibly important as business and the employment process shifts more online. Employment brand is essential throughout the employee life cycle whether it’s recruiting, retention, or in engaging with your alumni workforce. Most important is the planning, strategy, and monitoring that happens to help organize and plan your branding and digital engagement efforts.

 

Jessica Miller-Merrell is a workplace change agent and author focused on human resources and talent acquisition. She lives in Austin, TX and is recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer. She's the founder of Workology.