How to handle negative employer reviews

What do you do when a past employee leaves a negative employer review?

Dealing with poor online reviews has been a longstanding part of business for retailers and restaurants alike for years. Now though, employer review sites like Glassdoor and CareerBliss are becoming more and more popular, so HR and recruitment are having to handle them, too. And, in the war for talent, where candidates have almost unlimited resources with which to research potential employers, sites like these matter.

Top candidates know to research a company not only in preparation for a job interview, but before they accept an offer, too. This research normally includes checking out what current or past employees have to say.

Glassdoor has about 33 million users who can criticise or praise a company completely anonymously, whichever way they see fit. These reviews raise a problem for employers – should you respond, and risk looking defensive? Or should you ignore criticism, even if it’s false, and risk your reputation?

Knowing how exactly to respond to negative reviews can be tough, so we’ve put together a quick guide of best practices to keep in mind if you ever find yourself facing a negative rating.

1. Have a policy in place

First thing’s first. Before you’ve even had a negative review left about your company as an employer, create a policy that outlines how to handle it if/when it happens. Having a plan to effectively respond to reviews is a fundamental part of any employee engagement or employer brand strategy. It’s always best to be prepared, so assign someone the responsibility of dealing with reviews (good and bad). Set up alerts so you know when a review is posted.

2. Don’t ignore it

Unfortunately, ignoring a negative employer review and praying it’ll go away by itself won’t work. Whilst it might be tempting to simply forget about it, research suggests 70% of candidates look at reviews before making career decisions. Do you really want to miss the opportunity to have your say and neutralise the review?

 3. Keep it professional

62% of Glassdoor users say that their perception of a company improves when they see that they respond to reviews. Because of this, your response can make all the difference.

Apart from actually taking the time to reply, the most important thing to remember when it comes to dealing with negative employer reviews is to stay professional. Address the reviewers’ issue and explain, if possible, the steps you’re taking to solve the problem. And remember to say thank you! As SocialTalent point out, the reviewer has just given you valuable information you can use to improve your company. Thanking them for their feedback shows that you’re gracious and that you’re willing to make a positive change.

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Glassdoor recommends the following best practices for responses:

i. Make them timely

Provided you’ve set up alerts to receive a notification each time a review is left, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be responding as soon as possible. If a review is negative, the longer you leave it unanswered, the higher the chances of more people seeing it and your brand reputation declining.

ii. Keep a consistent voice

When it comes to drafting your reply, remember that it should be authentic and true to your brand. Your response is another chance to showcase your employer brand whilst also humanizing your business. As Indeed rightly point out, demonstrating that there are real people behind your brand who are listening goes a long way in attracting candidates.

4. Be proactive

Another step to take when you’re faced with a negative review is to take the initiative and create a positive company culture. Happy employees won’t leave bad employer feedback. Work on your employer brand and your employee engagement strategies to create an environment that’s employee-centric. If you want to get an idea of how your strategies are working out, conduct an employee satisfaction survey. Use the feedback and comments to continually improve and evolve.

5. Encourage other employees to leave a review

Finally, if you’re particularly concerned about a review, you can always encourage your current employees to share their thoughts to balance things out. Of course, this assumes that your other employees are happy and will leave positive feedback, but if you’ve successfully created a transparent culture, this won’t be an issue.

Final word

Remember that there’s no trick to cover up a negative review – the only way you’ll get excellent reviews is by being an excellent employer.

Have you ever had to deal with negative employer reviews? How did you handle it? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.

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