Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Audrey Pilcher. Her opinions are her own.
For the past several years, employers in the U.S. have experienced significant skill shortages. In fact, the 2017 U.S. Talent Shortage Survey report by Manpower Group claimed that the percentage of employers reporting talent shortages was 46 percent in 2016 – which represents a 12 percent increase since 2015.
One of the main reasons for such a significant talent shortage is the rise of individual choice. Employees have become much more selective when it comes to employers, and companies are developing new ways to attract the most qualified candidates.
Employer branding is one of these ways, and many companies use it to gain the competitive advantage in the labor market. Simply explained, it’s a public image of a business that tells the story of its culture, values, and mission.
In this post, we’re going to discuss one significant challenge to building a positive employer brand – negative reviews on employer review sites, and ways of properly dealing with them to minimize the damage.
Online company review sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor facilitated the use of employer branding. For example, any employee, whether former or current, can review their experience with a company by giving a star rating and providing feedback. As the result, those looking to apply to positions at that company will know whether it’s worth doing.
The surveys of users of company review sites supported the need for proper brand management, especially negative reviews. For example, a recent compilation of recruiting stats by Glassdoor revealed that 83 percent of job seekers were likely to research company reviews before deciding whether to apply. Clearly, an increasing number of people use online resources to get more information about companies and certain aspects such as salary data of benefits.
With the increasing popularity of sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, having employer branding as one of the key components in the recruitment strategy became a must. Many companies realized the need to manage their brand on review sites by creating official accounts and responding to reviews given by employees.
The employer brand of a good company needs to be authentic, transparent, and stand up for the scrutiny of the digital world. Those who fail to rise to meet the challenge of becoming a transparent and positive employer will ultimately lose the recruitment game. In the current labor market, this could be a disaster for any business.
In order to build an employer brand that attracts exceptional talent, companies have to master negative review management on websites like Glassdoor and Indeed.
How to manage negative company reviews?
Review sites can become a nightmare for companies that struggle to gain control over all the feedback submitted by employees, especially the negative ones. That’s why knowing how to manage negative reviews is a must.
If an employer ignores negative reviews, candidates may perceive it as an evidence suggesting that the company is indifferent to them. In fact, according to Rose Leadem, an Entrepreneur contributor, 69 percent of job seekers “are more likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages its brand by responding to reviews.”
That’s why responding to them is an essential part of an employer branding strategy.
Here are the steps to respond to a negative review properly:
1. Thank the reviewer
While it may seem counterproductive to thank a reviewer for sharing something negative about your company, you should also acknowledge that they gave you free information that you can use to improve your business. Besides, the reviewer took some time to write the review, which is something they didn’t have to do.
2. Address the point of the negative feedback
This part should include the explanation of how the employer intends to solve the issue identified by the reviewer. Acknowledging the main issue raised by the reviewer is necessary because it shows that you have read the review carefully and understood the problem. Give the reviewer more details about how you intend to solve the problem (or what you’re already doing about it).
At this point, you should refrain from responding directly to the statements or accusations made by the reviewer. Why? Because when it gets personal, it gets ugly.
3. Share the positive aspects
Some of the good things about the company should be included here to counteract some of the negative ones and give a broader picture. Even when you’re responding to a negative review, you should always remember about the job seekers looking for some positive information about your company.
4. Get the CEO to reply
It’s not uncommon for CEOs to reply to employee reviews. Nicole D. Garza, HR specialist at A-Writer, recommends to demonstrate that the company has a serious attitude toward employee feedback by getting someone from the top management to reply. Besides, it’s good for the CEO’s image as well because writing a response proves that he or she is the kind of leader that appreciates feedback and incorporates change for current and future employees based on that feedback.
The last thing that could be added to this list of tips is that you shouldn’t use canned responses but be authentic when writing the answer. People will respect your effort to be upfront, so try to respond individually and honestly to every negative review.
Also remember that these tips will only be effective in the short-term if a company doesn’t build an employee-oriented culture, which is the foundation of an employer brand. Simply put, if employees don’t like certain aspects about the place where they work, word will spread.
So, if a business intends to get qualified talent today’s labor market, it’s time for its management to give some serious thought to managing employer branding, which includes responding to negative reviews.