Three Strategies To Counter Negative Employee Reviews

Your association's good name is a critical asset for recruiting new talent, so you can't ignore negative online reviews by former employees. Here are some strategies for protecting your organization's reputation as an employer.

In the social media age, a single negative message can do a lot of harm.  And with the emergence of employer reviews on sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn, or even in unstructured formats like Twitter, a few bad reviews can have an outsize effect on your organization’s reputation as a good place to work.

How seriously should you take negative reviews by past employees? Very. According to a report from the HR technology firm CareerArc [registration], 55 percent of job seekers said they decided against working for a company based on negative reviews. In fact, those negative reviews can be so bad that they dissuade people from using that company’s services entirely.

What can you do if your organization receives bad reviews as an employer? A few ideas:

Pay attention to employer-review sites. The first step is awareness. Employers ignore sites like Glassdoor at their peril, and those that actively keep an eye out for negative reviews can deploy a response strategy.  “If you’re a company just waking up to Glassdoor, you can definitely move the needle,” said Michael Hennessey, founder and CEO of the recruiting firm SmashFly, in an article published by the Society for Human Resource Management. “Talent acquisition leaders are understanding that this is not a nice-to-have. It’s the new norm.”

Ditch the defensive posture. An employers’ defensive response to a bad review can undermine a dozen good ones. The better strategy is to treat each review as an opportunity for action, writes Inc. contributor Adam Robinson. “When employees share negative or constructive feedback, outline steps you can take toward improvement at your organization,” he says. “For example, if an employee says they don’t see growth opportunities on your team, outline a plan to develop more defined career paths.”

Create a workplace where others want to speak for you. When an employer with a few bad reviews tries to counter them by asking current employees to post rosier ones, the approach can come off as transparently superficial. ZipRecruiter columnist Matt Krumrie notes that it’s better to foster an environment where employees are motivated to defend the organization on their own. “In some cases … employees of companies take the lead and respond to negative reviews before a social media team or reputation management plan is put in place,” Krumrie writes. “That is, of course, with the employer’s blessing.”

(filo/DigitalVision Vectors)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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