It’s hard to believe, but it will be ten years this year since the ratings site Glassdoor was launched.   The website allowing anonymous users to go online and write anything they like about your organisation seemed to be a relatively recent phenomenon to me – but clearly not. I guess the reason I and many clients are surprised by this anniversary is that only a couple of years ago Glassdoor didn’t really matter. People were aware of it but that was where the interest stopped.


But then your company gets a review! In the worst case scenario it is the kind of review which makes the reader believe working with Somali pirates is easier and spiritually more rewarding than working for your organisation. Suddenly, not only does your interest in Glassdoor increase off the scale, but you learn that despite everything you have done your organisation’s reputation cannot be fully controlled – and that is a very tough lesson to accept. What’s worse – the bigger your organisation, the longer it has been established so the greater the number of reviews coming at you.


Of course – that is the point of Glassdoor. It was created in a world of openness, transparency and giving a review on every tourist attraction, restaurant and hotel on the planet. Would-be users, customers, or now would-be employees seek the opinion of others before they make a commitment. Then throw into the mix the fact you and I have probably never meet someone who left their job because they loved it and cannot say enough good things about the management and company culture! Well, with that heady concoction of dissatisfied ex-employees and a website to give the inside track on what it is really like to work for an organisation – companies should and could have seen the storm well before it hit home.


A negative review on Glassdoor is not the end of the world, so if you are faced with this problem you need to keep it in perspective. You also need to remember you do not have a Glassdoor problem; you have a problem elsewhere within the organisation that is simply being brought to light on Glassdoor. Whatever the problem is you can bet friends and family have already discussed it and other social media channels could have the details documented. Glassdoor is just a very small tip to a very large iceberg.


So you can employ several approaches to the problem including ignoring it or trying to organise a systematic exorcism of every employee on the payroll. But, the most logical step is address the problem head on. Start by examining the details and trying to understand what it really means. Is the problem restricted to a certain team or geographic location? Does it relate to the actions of an individual or is it miscommunication? If you can understand the problem you can solve it so it does not happen again.


Secondly, address and respond to the reviews. 65% of job seekers say their perception of a company improves after seeing them respond to a review. In responding, do not be defensive, do not deny what may or may not have been experienced. Instead say you are sorry, stress your commitment, your values and your messaging that surrounds how you want employees and every individual to feel when they come into contact with your organisation.


Finally, get on-board with Glassdoor.  Like anything social media related, if you have a bad review then the only way to address it is to literally smother it with better reviews! If you are working hard to solve the internal issues then remember – you will have significantly more employees within your organisation who are satisfied than miserable ones posting on public forums – let them share their story. Encourage them to use Glassdoor as a feedback site. Do not force them, do not use incentives such as Starbucks vouchers for positive reviews (it has been tried with terrible consequences). Just make it a natural, viable and welcome step for employees. Many organisations really are taking this step and accept they have to embrace the good, the bad and the ugly.


You cannot control your organisation’s reputation. But you can be an awesome company to work for, if you achieve that then the reviews will follow.


Let me leave you with the following review:

“…The management sucks, the turnover rate is ridiculous, most of all the employees are unprofessional, and the health department will probably shut them down really soon…” – This is a review for Google….winner of best place to work 2018!


About the Author:

Simon Royston is the founder and Managing Director of The Recruitment Lab (A recruitment agency based in Aldershot that offers employment services across Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and beyond).  Simon lives in Guildford and has worked in Recruitment for over a decade.  He has a degree and a masters in psychology as well as a diploma in Human Resource Management.  If you would like to know more about anything written in this blog or would simply like to express your own thoughts and opinions do not hesitate to contact Simon through The Recruitment Lab website.