Employer branding is one of the most effective ways for companies to gain a competitive advantage in the labor market. However, there’s a catch – if the presentation doesn’t reflect the reality – employer reviews will sure point that out.
Employer reviews are the accuracy test of the employer branding effort – they show effective and credible the presentation is.
This article explains why companies should pay attention to employer review and how to handle them productively.
Why do employer reviews matter?
The growing demand for transparency in the labor market facilitated the rise of employer review sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and The Job Crowd. These sites soon became a go-to place for job seekers who consider applying for this or that company.
- More often than not – the reviews started to show chinks in the corporate armor – pointing out such negative aspects as a toxic environment, working overtime, pay disparities, office politicking, and so on.
- Negative employer reviews can throw a wrench in the company’s image as a worthwhile and trustworthy workplace.
In turn, the availability of employer reviews on the internet kickstarted the evolution of employer branding practices into its modern form.
- On the one hand, it was an opportunity to showcase the employee experience in the company.
- On the other hand, employer reviews could also expose negative aspects of the company’s inner workings.
As a result, employer reviews became a benchmark for the employer’s brand’s effectiveness and accuracy.
What employer review can tell about the employer’s brand?
In a way, employer reviews are counter-programming employer branding. For job seekers, it is a way to see through the sheen of the brand. According to Bayt.com survey:
- 76% of job seekers research into a company before applying.
- For 83%, employer reviews are a decisive factor.
It is just a fact of life. Candidates tend to trust employees more than an employer when it comes to researching the company. And it is not always because of distrust towards a company’s brand.
- Employee’s perspective is closer to the job seeker – it can tell them about those things between the lines that make a career opportunity more or less attractive.
So what are the challenges of dealing with employer reviews?
What is the main challenge of employer reviews?
1 Not taking employer reviews seriously
Ignoring or not taking employer reviews seriously is one of the most common mistakes that companies make while working on employer branding.
Here’s how it looks:
- On the one hand, the company is trying hard to construct an image of a responsible employer that cares about its employees.
- On the other hand, employer reviews state numerous issues with the company’s culture, workflows, and management.
- And if this wasn’t bad enough, lack of responses to criticism makes it even worse.
The result is predictable:
- the job seeker who was previously interested in applying to an open position sees that during the research.
- Bam! The bloom’s off the rose. Your efforts are null and void, sorry about your luck, so long and farewell.
It is painfully apparent why such situations happen from time to time – HR staff can’t keep an eye on everything.
- But you can at least set up a Google Alert on your brand name to get a notification of every new mention. Other reputation management tools can help with tracking brand mentions, like Buzzsumo or SimilarWeb.
2 Analyzing the employer reviews
Employer reviews are an incredible source of information coming from credible sources (for the most part). Hence, it would’ve been a waste not to take a closer look at what they say. Chances are you are missing out on something in plain sight.
Because of that, it is crucial to monitor the company reviews and analyze its aspects.
It serves several purposes:
- Employer reviews act as an external public survey detailing the employee experience and its different aspects.
- This information also serves as a reference for the HR and Employer Branding managers in their day-to-day operations, such as preparing the internal surveys.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Gather information on the work environment, growth experience, overall employee experience, candidate experience, management, and so on. If possible
- Based on that, you can reverse engineer the external perception of the company. This information will allow you to internally address the issues and prepare a detailed response to any expressed issue.
3 Responding to company reviews
The other big challenge of handling employer reviews is the responses to reviews. On the surface, it seems like a not big deal – you just need to write a reply the acknowledges the effort and addresses its message.
But the devil is in the details.
- The way your representative responds tells a lot about the company’s culture and its perception of its internal issues.
Thus, it is crucial to keep the response in line with the general employer branding guidelines.
- For example, you can’t get personal in the response because it is inappropriate. You can’t blame the recruiter for his feedback.
- On the other hand, it is no good if the response is a cookie-cutter message like “Thank you for your feedback. We are working on this issue.” No one is buying that, and such responses will tank your employer’s brand hard.
How to manage employer reviews?
One thing you should remember about employer reviews – it is all about the information.
- Job seekers are looking for information detailing certain aspects of working for the company. That’s what motivates their decision to apply for the vacant positions.
- Job seekers are usually interested in such things as culture and values, work environment, growth opportunities.
- On the other hand, the reviewers, for the most part, share information about working for the company they deem critical for public awareness.
- The employer’s role in this configuration is to provide yet another perspective on things to balance it out.
Regarding the review responses – it goes like that.
- Keep the tone formal with no emotional undertones. You are here to address statements.
- The response should be straight to the point with no smokes and mirrors or winding explanations.
Here’s what you can do with different kinds of company reviews:
- In case of an unbiased or neutral review – you just need to thank the reviewer for the effort and comment on the covered topics.
- In case of a positive review – just thank the reviewer. Pointing out anything specific in such a review will serve as a red flag for corporate shilling even if it’s not like that.
- Negative reviews are tricky. Let’s take a closer look.
How to manage negative company reviews?
If you get a negative review – you need to react. No reaction hurts the brand. Ignoring the reviews is a sign of indifference, and that’s not the impression you want to make on job seekers.
Read into the text – try to understand what it indicates. Chances are it points at some underlying issues that need addressing.
The course of action looks like this:
- Thank the reviewer for the feedback. Acknowledge the fact that the review provides information that will help improve the business.
- Next – address the points of the negative review. This one is a tricky balancing act because it is really easy to slip into overprotective justifying. But it shows that you have read the review. The goal is to show that the company is perceptive to criticism and embraces change to make itself better.
- Include a brief explanation of how the company is planning to solve the identified issue.
- Avoid direct response to statements and accusations. Employer review is not the place to get personal.
- Sharing the positive aspects is a good counteract to addressing the negative points. Since job seekers are looking for as much information as possible – providing them with more details while addressing negative aspects is an option.
- Pointing out the positives provides readers with a broader perspective on the company. However, it is essential not to use them in contrast to the negative aspects. You can go like, “well, the environment is toxic, but we have flexible work hours.”
Is it OK to encourage employees to review the company?
The right way of leveraging employer reviews is to encourage employees to review the company on job review platforms like Indeed. After all – the more positive reviews you get – the better.
- It is important to note that you can’t force employees to write the “right kind” of employer review. But you need to state that you are open to such employee feedback.
- If there is a reluctance to share feedback publicly – sites like Glassdoor an option of an anonymous review. But you need to keep in mind that with anonymity comes the risk of getting misleading or misinterpreted presentation.
This approach serves two purposes:
- The company shows trust and endorses employees’ opinions and thus reinforces its core values.
- On the other hand, the company tests the quality of its employer branding efforts.
However, if you want to pull this off – you need to confident that there are no issues that could be exposed in employer reviews. Otherwise, it is better to handle an internal survey beforehand and identify problems and weak points.
Employer reviews are the moment of truth for employer branding managers – it showcases how significant are their efforts and how accurate is their presentation of the company’s culture and employee experience. Because of that, handling company reviews properly is such an important task.
If you need assistance in handling employer reviews or need help with analyzing the feedback – our employer branding consultants can help you.