Why you need to reply to ALL reviews on Glassdoor & Indeed

Most recruiters and HR professionals I meet wish Glassdoor (and Indeed Company Pages) would just disappear from the internet. Perhaps we will wake up tomorrow to learn that all the reviews are “fake news” generated by 1,000 Russian bots in an effort to destabilise western economies?

Whilst day to day reality in 2017 makes me think nothing is impossible, I am pretty sure that the Russians are not behind the two bad reviews we have generated on the EasyWeb Glassdoor page (we also have 16 positive reviews). At least I can be comforted that our bad reviews have a certain style with such immortal lines as:

Working generally through a new recruitment methodology called “by the seat of your pants” not to be confused with “making it up as you go along”.

This is far better than this review, which complains about not having the correct “amount of product” and how this is a “constant problem” for the steakhouse where he works, but then also lists “you can take (steal) as many steaks as you want” in the Pros section.

You can see why most HR departments have a loathe/hate relationship with Glassdoor.

I get it. In-house recruiters are busy. Marketing departments are busy. HR professionals are busy. Everyone is juggling far more balls than they were 10 years ago. No one was going to be over the moon with the idea of not just one but two (when we speak about Glassdoor we also need to consider Indeed who have a similar product) websites where your past and present employees can go to post anonymous reviews of your organisation. No one, that is, apart from jobseekers who find these sites extremely useful, a fact confirmed by their rapid growth in audience size.

In a series of blog posts in this area, I have already talked about why you need to claim your page. This post will cover the key reasons why everyone needs to go a step further and reply to all your reviews. Here are the 9 reasons why this is a vitally important task:

1. Your Glassdoor rating/reputation will affect more than just your employer brand

Everyone wants inside information before buying a new product/service. A common search on Google is to write the name of the product or service followed by the term ‘review’. Whilst this will generally throw up pages such as Trustpilot, you will also see Glassdoor & Indeed listing very high. Ask yourself, would you be less inclined to buy a service if you could see their staff were not highly engaged?

In a future post I will be detailing some tactics to generate more positive reviews. However, regardless of the overall score you have you need to be replying to the reviews to help provide some balance.

2. It’s polite

If someone wrote an email or god forbid a letter to your organisation praising/criticising it, you would likely respond. So why would you not want to respond to that same person who posted an online critique of the pros/cons of your organisation? For most people it is the fact that the forum has changed from 1-2-1 communication to the internet, so they choose not to respond. The fact that this critique has been posted online for everyone to see forever, IS the reason you MUST respond. That, and it is also polite.

Here is an example of a great reply that is authentic and also polite.

3. If you don’t it looks lazy

In the same way that a lack of a response can imply rudeness, it can also imply laziness. Glassdoor pages with dozens of reviews and no replies, always suggests this as a possibility. However, a standard ‘cut and paste, say nothing’ response looks even worse.

In fairness, this response above (see here for the full review) might not reflect laziness, it could simply be a reviewer keen to respond but unwilling to leave the safe ground of actually stating anything that could resemble an opinion. However, sometimes when you stick to the safe ground, you are in fact taking a risk in that the reader, and the original reviewer, might think that you cannot be bothered.

4. You have the final say

Glassdoor is not an even playing ground. Organisations get to have the final word. Reviewer posts review. Organisation responds to review. That is that, end of conversation. Adding to that, some 1 star reviews are written whilst the reviewer is in an emotional state, possibly at 3am when they have come back from the pub, where they post what is essentially the equivalent of the early morning text message to your ex after getting dumped, you know the sort of thing….

There is no clear formula for telling if an ex-employee was intoxicated when they posted a review. However, the shorter the review and the less punctuation applied, increases the likelihood…..

The vast majority of reviews, whether they are good or bad, are balanced (Pros and Cons) and offer some insights that management can choose to take on board or not. Even bad reviews can give you the chance to make some reasoned and fair points, that as the reply below highlights “We certainly aren’t for everyone, but many people have built successful careers”.

5. You can show your company to be engaging with Glassdoor and having a transparent approach to feedback

Some organisations use their chance to reply to a review, as the perfect opportunity to moan about how the anonymous review system is unfair. Whether you are a prospective customer, shareholder or employee, you expect a certain degree of transparency these days. So it seems crazy to take your opportunity to post a reasoned response and just moan about Glassdoor.

Organisations who understand that their current and prospective employees expect a degree of transparency openly embrace Glassdoor, as you can see from this example below, which states “we value this forum as a source of anonymous feedback”.

6. Your chance to engage with the reviewer

Whilst posting your reply, you are probably conscious that your colleagues, bosses and future hires might analyse each word/sentence. However, you need to remember you are not writing for them. You are writing a reply to the original reviewer. If you take the time to write a personalised approach to this reviewer’s comments, your reply will likely stand out as “authentic”, which is probably the most important way to judge what you write.

Some of the larger multi-nationals understand that being authentic is important. However, the examples below from Unilever, whilst polite, show a rigid structure that feels a little impersonal. Remember, readers will likely read multiple reviews/replies and will quickly see that you are not really responding.

7. Chance to right wrongs

Sometimes you just need to admit you got it wrong in the past and show what you are doing to improve.

8. Chance to highlight the absurdity of the review

There is perhaps 10% of reviews on Glassdoor from former staff who, based on their review, did not have a very positive experience with your organisation. So you are unlikely to win these former employees round and you perhaps would not want to, as clearly for whatever reason, it was not a good fit for both parties.

However, a terrible 1 star “car crash” of a review can provide you an opportunity to present yourself as an opportunity, to actually come out “smelling of roses”. If you are able to respond to an angry and vengeful review with a calm and reasoned explanation, then readers will likely view your organisation in a positive light.   

9.  Your competition is not responding to reviews

To the best of my knowledge Glassdoor has not released any data to show the % of reviews on the site that go unresponded to. However, in the UK where Glassdoor is not a household name for all jobseekers and HR/Recruitment professionals, we still see the vast majority of reviews not responded to.

We did a quick piece of market research and looked at the 18 companies listed in Aylesbury (we only included organisations whose main office was Aylesbury, use this link but you will need to choose to filter by Aylesbury once you click).

Here are some stats that we think are fairly typical for the UK:

  • 18 organisations listed with head office in Aylesbury
  • 16 of these had reviews on their page
  • 14 of the 16 organisations with reviews had not responded to any reviews
  • None of the 16 organisations with reviews had responded to all of them

Aylesbury was the first and only town/city we researched. These results might be a little extreme and it is a very, very small research group. However, the point remains your competition is not on top of their Glassdoor page so there is an opportunity here to get ahead of the competition before Glassdoor becomes the go-to website used by most of your prospective applicants.

Feel free to check out our free Glassdoor webinar here: http://www.easywebtraining.com/webinars/managing-your-employer-reputation-on-glassdoor-and-indeed/

Written by Adrian McDonagh, Chief Ideas Officer / Founder at EasyWeb Group with additional research from Becky Cellupica, Marketing & Events Executive at EasyWeb Group