Getting the Most Out of Negative Reviews

Sydney Frazer | 22nd July 2016

Companies can look to Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work winning companies to get an idea of what it takes to be a highly rated company on Glassdoor. While a quick scan of the reviews may reveal fun perks and competitive compensation, the best companies go beyond the tangibles when it comes to supporting their employees. They foster an authentic culture of honest feedback and open dialogue.

Because here’s the truth: the average company rating on Glassdoor is currently a 3.3 on a 5.0 scale (based on the 580,000 companies featured on site), which means even the best companies receive some negative reviews. However, the best companies don’t ignore the less-than-stellar commentary. They don’t just say “Thanks for your review” and move on. They engage with their employees, both the satisfied ones and those who see room for improvement. So what can you learn from these employers who are embracing both the positive and the negative? Consider these three points:

1. How the best employers respond to reviews

The best employer responses to Glassdoor reviews share a few qualities – they are timely, specific, and considerate. Responding to reviews in a timely fashion indicates that you consider employee feedback a priority. As Dale Jakins from 1-800-CONTACTS puts it, “We would never ignore a compliment or a complaint from a customer, so why would we from an associate?”

Responses should also specifically address the issues brought up in the review. Sometimes, this means admitting when you see a similar issue, such as a response by Kareo CEO Dan Rodrigues who acknowledges, “we may need to slow down at times to ensure … team members are trained properly.” Other times, this means taking the conversation off of Glassdoor, whether it’s through email (Zillow often includes an email address in a response so that the conversation can evolve) or a handwritten note like Opower did when a remote office wanted more swag!

Finally, the best responses are honest and considerate. This doesn’t mean just saying “thanks, you’re right.” Acknowledge the positives, thank the reviewer for taking the time to leave a review, and feel free to explain what steps are being taken to remedy the reviewer’s concerns.

Glassdoors CRO, Brad Mirkovich, specifically addresses a reviewer in this response: “We’re especially proud of the …. benefits you mentioned.” He then goes on to address the concerns by explaining, “we are currently evaluating our territory and compensation models…” As an employer, responding to Glassdoor reviews gives you the opportunity to correct misconceptions or remind people that your company is evolving, evaluating, and making decisions to improve the employee experience.

2. Responding to reviews boosts your brand

Remember: the time is now to start managing your employer brand through responding to reviews. Companies should keep these pro tips in mind when responding to reviews:

  • Respond to as many reviews as possible
  • Be prompt
  • Address the specific issues raised
  • Respond professionally and authentically
  • Give thanks for the feedback
  • Take advantage of  the reviews and candid feedback to implement change

3. Encourage employees to share reviews

Lastly, at Glassdoor, we recommend that you encourage your employees to share reviews. While you may be afraid of encouraging employees to air their grievances, it can actually benefit your profile since 95% of consumers trust reviews more when there are both positive and negative reviews present. A call-to-action will allow your company to get a true pulse of the company workforce.

When asking your employees to leave reviews, consider these tips:

  • Indicate why you are asking for reviews and why it’s so important to your company’s health
  • Welcome all feedback from your employees, stressing that balanced reviews are important (we love both pros and cons! In fact, company reviews on Glassdoor must include both pros and cons for the review to appear on site)
  • Request that your employees are honest and remind them that reviews are anonymous
  • Don’t offer incentives for reviews or only encourage specific employees to leave reviews

Anyone with a Glassdoor Free Employer account has the option of responding to reviews left about their company. But why should companies respond to reviews? The bottom line is this: listening to your employees is the best way to improve your employer brand and recruit the best talent. With 90% of Glassdoor users finding the employer perspective valuable when make a decision on where to work, responding to reviews can be a valuable recruitment tool, and a great way to improve the employee experience. When you address employee concerns and take their feedback offline by enacting change  in the real world, it begins the process of turning those negative reviews into glowing ones.

Sign up for a Glassdoor Free Employer Account today to get started responding to your company’s Glassdoor reviews for free!