Companies, non-profits and PR agencies with strong reputations receive more job applications from qualified candidates and retain first-rate employees. That’s why many communications and HR personnel strive to maintain favorable ratings on Glassdoor and other review sites. They know prospective employees frequently view Glassdoor ratings of companies and agencies when applying for positions and considering job offers. They’ve learned that Glassdoor ratings impact employer branding and the company’s overall image.
Following these recommendations can help PR professionals enhance company Glassdoor ratings and their organization’s overall image.
Research your reputation. If you haven’t done so already, search the internet for mentions of your organization using a media monitoring and measurement service. Some measurement services can customize dashboards for HR and other company departments. Larger organizations may benefit from automated sentiment analysis. Search for common themes in comments by past and present employees. It’s essential to continuously monitor your company’s reputation as an employer, according to Glassdoor.
Create an account. Creating an account on the platform allows a company to publish its mission statement, describe the company’s culture, provide information about perks and benefits, and respond to reviews. Take advantage of company updates, photos and videos to promote the organization.
Respond to reviews. Respond to both positive and negative reviews. Responding to negative reviews is especially helpful as it shows a responsive organization. View negative reviews realistically. Complaints can reveal areas that need improvement. Resolving issues will not only improve the organization’s rating but make a better place to work. Glassdoor recommends setting some time aside every day or every week to monitor and answer reviews. If your budget allows, consider hiring a community manager.
Don’t feel bad about bad reviews, cautions Ryan Erskine, senior brand strategist at BrandYourself, in Forbes. Human nature dictates that people post more negative reviews. The average company rating on Glassdoor is 3.3 out of 5.
Learn from reviews. While some people exaggerate in negative reviews, others leave accurate information about your organization. Take advantage of those reviews to improve your corporate culture. “This information gives you a great opportunity to improve your operations since it’s left anonymously, often by former employees,” says Dave Anderson, a content strategist for Recruiterbox
Work with HR. HR should work closely with PR & marketing to improve the company’s image among potential employees. “Glassdoor is a marriage between marketing and HR, but if you’re doing it solely to improve your Glassdoor rating, you’re doing it wrong,” writes Elliot Schimel, CEO of Mission Control Marketing, in Forbes.
Encourage reviews. Encourage employees to post reviews about working at the company without offering incentives, in other words bribes. Glassdoor suggests asking new hires during their onboarding to leave reviews about their hiring experience, then email reminders after 30, 60 or 90 days on the job to leave formal company reviews.
Remind employees at company meetings about the value of leaving reviews, especially as a strategy to help attract great talent. However, many reviews posted around the same time may seem suspicious to job candidates. Instead, encourage employees to leave reviews at opportune times, such as after promotions, meetings where the company recognizes their good work, and fun activities like happy hours.
Don’t urge dishonest positive reviews. Some companies manipulate Glassdoor ratings by pressuring employees to give favorable ratings, according to a Wall Street Journal article. The Journal’s analysis of millions of anonymous reviews posted on the site identified more than 400 companies with unusually large single-month increases in reviews. Ratings were disproportionately positive during most of those surges.
Employees of mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate posted a stream of negative reviews about the mortgage broker on the ratings website. One reviewer commented: “An American sweatshop.” Another: “Worst company I ever worked for.”
The company’s rating fell to 2.6 stars out of possible 5. Worried that negative reviews might hurt recruiting, Guaranteed Rate CEO Victor Ciardelli instructed his team to encourage employees to post positive reviews, the Journal reported. Employees flooded Glassdoor with hundreds of five-star ratings in September and October. The company’s rating jumped to 4.1.
Questionable Spikes in Good Reviews Exposed
The analysis also found spikes from SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space exploration company, SAP, the software giant, and LinkedIn among others. Companies sometimes solicit employees to leave positive reviews to win a place on Glassdoor’s coveted Best Places to Work list.
Commentators said they were not surprised at the allegations. At least a few Glassdoor users have complained that businesses pressure employees to post positive reviews. “Don’t try to manipulate Glassdoor ratings. It just exposes you further,” commented one. Most prospective employees using Glassdoor can see through such tactics.
PR experts urge companies to avoid the manipulative practices. Besides being unethical, pressuring employees to post false reviews risks reputational damage when bogus reviews are eventually exposed. In addition, the practices won’t improve recruitment over the long run as new hires will quit after learning about the corporation’s culture first hand.
Organizations walk a fine line when encouraging employee ratings. It’s not clear how many of the reviews the Journal cited were dishonest. Company spokespeople said they encourage employees to post Glassdoor reviews — not dishonest reviews.
Guaranteed Rate told employees of their “collective responsibility to provide positive feedback,” the Journal reported. “We followed Glassdoor’s policy, reaching out to employees to encourage participation with honest feedback about how they viewed working for Guaranteed Rate,” a spokesperson for the company told HousingWire.
“Whether the company deserved those ratings or not is an entirely different question,” notes HousingWire Editor Ben Lane. “Only the company’s employees know for sure.”
Bottom Line: Employee reviews on jobs sites such as Glassdoor impact company reputations and their ability to recruit first-class talent. PR and HR experts urge companies to proactively manage their online reputations by monitoring their brand mentions. Asking employees to leave reviews at the right times is key to encouraging honest, favorable reviews that boost job board ratings.
This article was first published on Jan. 28, 2019, and updated on March 16, 2020.
William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, media measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.