If you’re an employer, it is inevitable that you will receive a negative review on Glassdoor at some point in your career—do not panic. It happens to every organization, warranted or not.
While you can continue to question the validity of that scathing review, you’ll need to accept that once a review it posted, it is posted for good.
That is as long as the review meets Glassdoor’s terms of service or the author removes it themselves. If you haven’t read this document we highly recommend you do so. If you have any concerns with specific reviews that violate the terms of service, the responsive team at Glassdoor can help.
Now, if you are still reading this article, we will go out on a limb and assume that someone on the lines of an old employee has drug your company’s name through the mud.
So, they blasted your organization publicly? Great!
Although it may not seem obvious at the time, this is actually the perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate your company’s top-notch stands. The fact is 83% of job seekers research company reviews before making the decision to apply. Your response to negative Glassdoor reviews will play a vital role in how future candidates determine your reputation as an employer.
Here’s a simple, four-step guide to responding to negative Glassdoor reviews:
Step 1: Take a deep breath.
Just as no sane person actually likes going to the dentist, no one likes to receive painful feedback—even if it is valid. Glassdoor’s format poses added discomfort for employers as the reviewers remain anonymous but the forum remains open for all to see (and judge).
Although your instinctual reaction may be to call Glassdoor and demand that they remove the awful review ruining your business’ reputation, you’ll need to resist the urge and take a deep breath. We know Glassdoor won’t remove the review so the only choice is to deal with it. And deal with it in such a way that it will not cause further damage but instead build your company’s good reputation.
Once you read the review for the first time in its entirety, it’s time to click away and take a deep breath. Not only can taking a deep breath calm your brain and lower your blood pressure, counting your breath can help you tap into your brain’s emotional control—and the last thing you want to do is respond to any negative review with emotion (just wait until you see the example of how bad this can be later on in this article).
Bad Glassdoor review or not, having the common 4-7-8 breathing method in your back pocket will save your reputation in stressful professional situations. As we like to say breathe before you proceed…that rhymes, right?
Step 2: Read the review objectively and seek nuggets of truth.
Now that we are calm and collected, it is time to read the review with a fresh set of eyes. While whoever left the review left it for their own reasons, know that the author cared enough about your organization to do so. And that, is actually a really good thing.
The manager / employee relationship can be a complex animal, and it is very possible that the scathing review highlights potentially hidden information about the inner workings of your culture that need to be explored.
Ask yourself: What is the underlying problem being expressed in this review? Have I seen any of the problems discussed? Have I actually looked for the problems being discussed? Have I cultivated a culture where honest critics of the organization can be expressed? When is the last time I asked for internal, anonymous feedback?
Be honest with yourself as you work through the questions above. Based on your answers, it is fully possible the review is just complete nonsense. Regardless, we have to answer is the same way we would respond to valid concerns.
Step 3: Resist the urge to blast the anonymous reviewer.
As much as you may want to call out each and every untruth the review shared, know that could only spark an ongoing public discussion that will only cause further damage for your company’s reputation.
As soon as you respond to any review on Glassdoor, the anonymous person that left it will receive a notification—with a link to your response. If you blast the reviewer, guess how they may respond to your response?
That’s right! With another scathing review that truthfully, only makes the company look bad in the eyes of future candidates. Here are some examples of how NOT to respond to a bad Glassdoor review.
Why this review response does not help. While this company did take the time to thank the review for leaving a review, there’s an immediate punctuation error that makes readers feel the company didn’t carefully think about their response. Next, providing details about why the review is concerning to the employer and fact that no employees have left does not HELP the company in any way.
As a viewer, we are led to believe that either: 1) a past employee was scared to leave a review sooner or, 2) there are current employees who are unhappy with the organization. The response continues to go into details that are simply not helpful and improving the company’s reputation. In fact, stating “personal cleanliness we are unable to influence in any way” leads readers to believe there is truth to the review.
Remember, your response as an employer to negative Glassdoor reviews is not for the reviewer—it is for everyone else who will enviably read it.
The conclusion of the response, continues with grammatical errors and does not provide direct details for the reviewer to contact. Not that the reviewer would as this employer does not take any ownership or seem remotely curious about the provided feedback.
The approach to responding to negative reviews should never be “an eye for an eye.” The outcome of will almost always additional negative reviews and a tougher time hiring. Instead, closely follow step four of our guide to responding to negative Glassdoor reviews.
Step 4: Calmly acknowledge the review and provide an alternative medium for a deeper discussion.
Have an identified party at your organization respond to the review to provide a sense of ownership (if you haven’t claimed your business on Glassdoor, start by doing that). Start by thanking the reviewer for taking the time to leave a review.
Next, concisely acknowledging the reviewer’s feedback in a neutral tone and apologize that they feel that way. Take the ownership to make things better by providing the opportunity for the reviewer to continue the conversation offline. Be specific with how they can contact you.
Here is an example:
“Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We take all feedback very seriously; I’d like to learn more about your perspective. If you’d like to continue the conversation, feel free to contact me directly at [insert your company email here].”
It is likely most reviewers will not take you up on the offer; however if they do, it is likely their feedback is valid and worth hearing. Regardless of the outcome from responding to a negative review on Glassdoor, the most important thing is to acknowledging negative feedback. Ignoring the review does not make it go away and only looks worse for your organization.
By responding to every review, your company appears engaged, compassionate and respectful —all qualities of a great company that many job seekers will want to work with.
Here are some other incredible responses from employers on Glassdoor:
Glassdoor is a remarkably valuable tool in the recruiting toolbox for all organizations (small and large). It is not just for disgruntled employees; it is for you to build trust with future team members.
If you don’t believe us, ask your last five hires if they vetted your organization on Glassdoor before their first day. We are willing to wager your next dentist bill that at least three of them say yes. Okay, that last statement isn’t true but we are willing to wager you a digital high-five instead.
The best way to combat negative Glassdoor reviews is to proactively provide potential candidates with the information they’re looking for. What do candidates really want to know about your company? Click here to continue reading.
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