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Fixing Your Glassdoor Reputation

Fixing Your Glassdoor Reputation

James Hornick - Partner - Creative, Digital and Marketing Recruiting

Anonymously complaining online is a time-honored Internet tradition, pre-dating social media, user review sites, and even blogs. Sometimes it is justified and based in truth, providing valuable feedback to companies; other times it is plain petty and borders on defamation. We all know there’s something cheap about it, but let’s be honest, there’s probably not a person reading this who didn’t at some point in life have an awful experience somewhere, get in a bad mood and let some company have it. Maybe it was Yelp, an Amazon product review, Twitter/Facebook. etc. It’s become a pervasive part of Internet culture.

So let’s talk about Glassdoor.

You could argue the legitimacy of Glassdoor reviews to begin with, as they inherently have a self-selection bias. But that point is irrelevant: they exist, people read them, and many people are influenced by them. Right or wrong, many job seekers will steer clear your company if you have a poor Glassdoor ranking.

But what can you do about it?

First off, self-awareness needs to kick in: maybe, just maybe, you have an actual problem. One bad review may be a fluke, two may be an unfortunate coincidence, but three is a trend you need to take seriously. Most people are smart enough to realize that anyone can write an unhinged review out of spite, and over time that can happen more than once. It’s impossible for every person to have a positive experience with your company 100% of the time. But if it happens again and again, the biggest mistake you can make is ignoring the problem. It won’t make it go away.

Your company might be doing great things but perhaps there’s a disconnect with employees in specific areas of the organization. Maybe employee satisfaction is a priority, but just not as much of a priority as your customer’s experience. Perhaps from a P&L standpoint, you don’t even see this as a problem; business is great and your Glassdoor reputation is just noise. But, if your hiring struggles because job-seekers are turned off by your Glassdoor review...the problem is self-evident and will hurt the business, eventually. Make a point to talk to your employees openly and understand what concerns they have and if they can be addressed. Don’t ignore your wake-up call.

Secondly, keep in mind there are two kinds of companies with bad Glassdoor reviews: companies with unhappy employees, and companies who used to have unhappy employees. My biggest issue with Glassdoor is it can be unforgiving to companies who have undergone positive changes. Startups are constantly evolving, and that in and of itself causes natural friction. But when the right changes are made, those old negative reviews still exist. Sometimes the problems companies had resulted from hiring and employing the wrong people to begin with, and as harsh as it is to say, cutting ties with those people had a positive impact on everyone else - except those very same former employees are the cause of your negative Glassdoor reviews.

In any case, after you’ve addressed things internally, there’s only one thing you can do moving forward: get some positive reviews. If people truly love working for your company, asking them to take 5 minutes to write a review on Glassdoor will go a long way towards improving your reputation. Don't tell them what or how to write, just ask for an original and honest review. It has to be genuine. Do this in small numbers but on a consistent basis, perhaps after major milestones are hit or positive employee performance reviews are made. You’ll see the payoff over time.

But, if you can’t seem to find anyone at your company willing to say anything positive...call me when you’re ready to make your next career move.

Photo Cred: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001). He meant ‘libel’ but let’s not split hairs.

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