Why online review sites can improve or damage your employer brand

In our rapidly-evolving digital world the Internet is able to influence everything we do and even what we think.
People trust online reviews and opinions from complete strangers more than they do information from any business and a recent survey found that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
In the world of recruiting job candidates have never been in a better position to research potential employers and employees, current and past, have never been more able to voice their opinions, good and bad, on a workplace.
Sites such as Glassdoor, WorkAdvisor, Indeed and The Job Crowd appear high in search engine results and afford candidates and employees the unprecedented opportunity to learn more about companies to see if the culture is a fit for them and to share real insider knowledge allowing every aspect of a company from salary information, photographs of the office space, the interview process and details of employee benefits to be reviewed. You can even read an approval rating for a company’s CEO.
Good you may think, but for a business this is where the dangers of anonymous online review sites can present themselves.
By offering the writer anonymity they also offer a lack of accountability, which does mean there is an opportunity for exploitation. A sacked employee could, for example, easily post exaggerated negative reviews or indeed a company could even fabricate positive reviews.
Like it or not these sites are not going anywhere and their influence is likely to increase especially in the competitive world of recruitment as research highlights that nearly 1 in 3 workers have declined a job offer primarily because the company had negative online employer reviews.
Companies need to understand their online presence is so much more than careers pages and job posts and is so important to their employer brand as it is so often the first glimpse into a company for potential candidates and what you do and indeed don’t do can severely impact your overall reputation and your ability to attract, recruit and retain the very best talent.

So, how can you improve your reputation on anonymous online review sites?

  • Manage your own page – take some of the control back by creating your own page.
    For example, Glassdoor allows you to build a page through a business account where you can set the design, monitor page analytics and reply to reviews.
    Your page should reflect your business as would your LinkedIn or Facebook company page. Celebrate your culture and include positive messages, plus photos and videos.
  • Engage – the truth is that these sites will always attract the disgruntled before the positive and this can impact on your overall rating. However, by encouraging as much positive feedback you can bring things back in balance by asking your current employees and interview candidates to leave positive reviews.
  • Listen – use the analytics and listen to feedback and do something about it if there is a pattern within a particular branch, division or department.
    These sites offer an exceptional and cost-effective insight into employee morale, so listen and act accordingly.
  • Respond – by taking the time to promptly and politely respond to reviews, good and bad, not only shows you care and are willing to listen but it also, in the case of negative reviews, allows you to close the thread as the reviewer cannot respond again.
  • Accept – there can be no doubt that company review sites do help provide necessary insights into company culture and employee satisfaction and the key is the acceptance of their importance to your employer brand: care about your employees and candidates or lose them to those who do.
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