Opinions matter. We seek advice on the best doctors, cars, restaurants and books. If it's sold anywhere, we want opinions from others. It's no surprise that workplace reviews have caught on just as fast. One survey found that half of all job seekers consult reviews on one popular site in their searches.
And review sites range from global to local. From Glassdoor to Indeed, savvy job seekers have numerous resources globally to gain intel. It's easy to laud or fear the reviews. If they're great, we quote and promote. If they're negative we respond and shun. In a rush to address a flurry of concern about the impact of review sites on employer brand, companies are making three major strategic missteps.
Here's What We Do Wrong
Ponying up Good Reviews
Some companies happen upon review sites shocked by the sheer number of negative reviews. In a rush to combat them, they encourage selected employees to post glowingly, positive reviews. This never works--from the time stamp of the new reviews posted to the exceptional positivity, candidates can read right through them. It makes it worse.
Ignoring Reviews Completely
On the flip side, there are HR leaders who shrug off reviews with a "well, there are always going to be some unhappy people" mentality. By doing this, companies lose a huge opportunity to learn from the reviews. You don't want to sound alarm bells at every negative sentiment, but you can look for patterns and themes as a trigger to address larger issues. If government agencies can better their processes from reviews, so can corporate HR.
Putting All Your Resources into a Response
Some companies are trying to respond to every negative comment or review. This doesn't work either. Consumer brands have found success doing this on social media. But their agency and support resources are vast--well beyond what HR usually has. Additionally, when HR tries to do it, often the responses are cookie cutter, cut and paste jobs. There's no authenticity to them. Instead you can respond to the most important or concerning ones if there's an option to do so. Another option is to post an update in a public forum (social channel or careers site) showcasing what you've learned and what you've fixed on a regular basis.
Making a Plan
First, make reviews a part of your employer brand strategy. You need to know they are there and review them as a data input--just like you would other inputs (engagement and satisfaction surveys, social media feedback, candidate experience feedback etc.)
Second, determine where the reviews fall in your strategy. You can work directly with the platforms, but that can be expensive. Investigate to determine how impactful that will actually be to your brand. exaqueo's research varies from company to company: but on average, most job seekers we interview and assess tell us directly that review sites aren't where they start their search, and they don't end it there either. The sites are sources of influence among many others.
Our take is that there is no single source of hire--no single tipping point for job seekers. Review sites are just another point of influence in their decision-making process. How much do they matter? That's where you have to do your own research to find out. Look inward and ask new hires for a reliable perspective before jumping to action.
Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps companies build cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn how to better compete for talent by building honest, authentic employer brands and powerful talent attraction and retention programs.