July 20, 2016
How can you get the dirt on a company before you get hired? And how can you hurt the reputation of a company that fired you?
These two questions get to the heart of what makes the website Glassdoor so dangerous. If you’re under attack, you’ll need to know all about how the site works, so you can mount a counterattack that has bite.
Why Reputation Management Companies Consider Glassdoor a Threat
Glassdoor has become a nightmare for many medium-sized to large-sized businesses that struggle to gain control over the reviews submitted by an ever increasing number of ex-employees. It’s companies that employ large workforces and operate in industries that have higher than average employee turnover rates that are at the most risk of Glassdoor-related reputation damage. These companies have an ever-increasing number of former employees and when they get hit with an onslaught of negative Glassdoor reviews by past employees, it can be nearly impossible to regain control.
Because negative reviews from former employees can deter top career talent from applying at a company, a bad reputation on Glassdoor is a serious problem that can directly impact the ability of a business to hire qualified candidates. For reasons like these, leading online reputation management companies such as InternetReputation.com, Reputation.com and Reputation Communications warn that negative reviews on Glassdoor can be problematic in a far worse way than negative reviews and consumer complaints on sites like Ripoff Report.
An Employer Review Site Made for Job Hunters
Glassdoor’s stated mission is to help people find both jobs and companies that they love. The site gathers and serves user-generated reviews to make that happen.
A job hunter can hop onto this site and read up on what current and past employees say about the company with which they have/had a work relationship. Readers can find out:
- How much the company pays
- How the interview process works
- What’s good about working for the company
- What people consider a drawback of the company’s structure or its management
Users of Glassdoor are required to create profiles or sign in with their social accounts. This makes the site at least somewhat reputable, as each bit of data comes from a real person with a login. Unlike other review sites, which allow people to post anonymously without verifying any kind of personal information, Glassdoor requires at least a little bit of data about a user before the typing and reviewing begins.
But the data that appears on Glassdoor can be spectacularly damaging. And the site’s setup makes an attack relatively easy to launch.
Who Writes Glassdoor Reviews?
People searching for jobs are, in most cases, leaving other jobs. And most people don’t leave their jobs and their steady paychecks for no reason. They leave those jobs because something about the company or the position just didn’t mesh with what they wanted out of life or out of a career. They made a choice to leave, or that choice was made for them.
Therefore, someone walking onto Glassdoor to find out about a company might also be motivated to talk about a prior company. And since Glassdoor strips names, reviews aren’t tied to a real name users can see and reviewers tend to be brutally, and painfully, honest. Here’s one example:
This former employee gave the company an overall positive review, but some of those comments are hair-raising. Words like “micromanaging” and “tunnel vision” are not the sorts of attributes any company wants tied to performance.
Since reviews like this do not come with a real name (even though a real name was required in order to write a review), it might seem hard to fight back. But there are some very powerful things companies can, and should, do.
Step 1: Create a Profile
The Glassdoor Employer Solutions page has a quick and easy form for anyone working in HR, recruiting, marketing or PR. Within a few minutes, you can create an employer account for your company, and there, you can write up a few words about what your company does and what sorts of things your employees stand for. You can even upload a photo that represents your company in some way.
There’s no need to get crazy and overly wordy here, but a few sentences pulled from your recruitment material could help you to tell the story of your company in a compelling way, and that could come in handy if you’re under attack.
Step 2: Monitor Your Page
Glassdoor has an almost airtight policy about user reviews. The company will not moderate nor review them, even if you offer to pay Glassdoor to take things down. The company will not do it. Ever.
But, Glassdoor does allow employers to write detailed responses to each and every review a person might write. And here’s where the site has real power. If you find a negative review and you discuss why that review doesn’t actually reflect your company, you could fend off an attack altogether.
But to do so, you’ll need to watch your page like a hawk. As soon as you see something new, you’ll need to take action.
Step 3: Respond Appropriately
If a user writes a review that paints your company in an unflattering light you can (and you should) respond to that review as quickly as possible. But you’ll need to make sure to follow a few basic rules:
- Stay calm. No profanity allowed.
- Do not include links to websites or surveys, even if they help to bolster your case. These links are not allowed in responses.
- No names. Even if you know who wrote the review, you cannot use it. Don’t even try.
- No contact data. Your response will also be anonymous, so do not try to put in any contact information.
All of these tips come from Glassdoor’s Community Guidelines, and they are very clear. If you break these rules, your response will disappear. Be careful.
Step 4: Ask for Help
Prior employees aren’t the only ones who can write up reviews on Glassdoor. Current employees can also share their thoughts, and you can help make that happen. Seek out your top employees (the ones who think favorably about you and the work you do), and ask them to write up a few notes about their experiences at work.
You cannot offer any kind of payment or incentive for writing reviews. Per the guidelines, that is forbidden. But you can ask your employees to help you in a calm and courteous manner, and they could choose to do so.
Sign Up for More
One of the best ways to deal with a Glassdoor issue is to ensure that your other reputation management steps are nailed down tight. That means content generation, review management and reputation monitoring services. If you need help with those steps, and if you want a little insider help with Glassdoor, it might be a good idea to reach out to one of the companies mentioned above, all of which have extensive experience fighting for the online reputations of businesses.
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