Had a negative employer review posted online? Here’s how to respond.

 In AU News, Business

Employers aren’t the only ones dishing out performance reviews these days.  Thanks to websites like Glassdoor, employers are under more scrutiny than ever, with thousands of users logging on and posting critiques of current and past employers every day.  

Reviews from past or present employees, or even from candidates,  paint a picture of what your organisation is like – providing a summary of the good, the bad and the ugly of the employment experience.  These sites aim to give candidates an insight into the virtues and hardships of various workplaces before a candidate even sets foot in the door.  

Like any online review tool, it can be hugely beneficial or terribly damaging depending on what’s said about your organisation and how it gets handled.

Employee review sites are here to stay, and ignoring them isn’t going to help your cause.  At last count Glassdoor has over 8 million company reviews and even more registered users.  Australian job board Seek is also getting in on the action.  They recently debuted their employer review site and have established a growing base of over 90,000 reviews in just a couple of months.

So you’ve noticed your organisation has received a review and it’s less than glowing.  What do you need to keep in mind when crafting your response?  Here are our top tips for turning a negative review around.

Be professional.

When responding to negative reviews it is crucial to always take the high road.  No matter how personal or unwarranted you believe a complaint may be, don’t fall into the trap of arguing the point with a disgruntled reviewer.  Reviews are left anonymously, however your response will be attributed to your business.  So if it gets into tit for tat, there’s only going to be one loser – you.  Keep the tone courteous and polite, and stick to the facts.  Acknowledge the comment and provide an accurate account of how the situation occurred and what you are doing to take action.

Say thank you.

Don’t underestimate the power of a thank you.  It’s important for people who’ve left a review to know you’ve seen it, read it, and appreciated their input – good or bad.

Be authentic.

It’s 2016.  Candidates are quite savvy these days and can pick when they are being spun a line.  When responding to a negative review, make sure you are honest about the steps your organisation is taking to overcome the challenges employees may have experienced in the past.  

It’s worth noting that candidates aren’t looking for the perfect employer – there really isn’t any such thing, but if you can show that you listen to feedback, even if it’s negative, and work with your people to make meaningful improvements, you are demonstrating employer of choice behaviour.

Take action.

Employer review sites aren’t only for potential employees to scope you out.  It’s also an opportunity for employers to hear about what is and isn’t working for your team.  For a whole host of reasons, sometimes complaints aren’t captured in employee engagement surveys and exit interviews.  Employer review sites are another way you can learn about what some of the red flags are when it comes to your EVP, workplace culture and employer brand.  

Tackling organisational change is hard, but if you want to have engaged, happy employees who will be happy to leave you glowing reviews, you need to put the work in.  If you want to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.  So take these insights and use them to create change!

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