Robert Burns once penned, "Oh to see ourselves... as others see us." Your company's reputation is important for your attraction and retention of your customers, employees, and prospective employees.
Its a fact, your future employees (job candidates) report that they will avoid companies with bad reputation. In a 2013 poll of employees conducted by Bayt.com, the pollsters found that 76% of prospective employees will research the internet to find out more about a company before considering a job opportunity; and importantly, 70% of professionals said they wouldn’t work for a company with poor reputation. 60% of professionals give high importance to an employer’s brand name when judging a new job offer. So if your brand "stinks" of poor reputation, it will be much harder to attract great employees to join you.
As a professional recruiter, I can tell you that we spend 3x budget in sourcing when we are asked to recruit candidates for company's with poor reputation. I recall a recent search where my lead recruiter complained that 2/3rds of the qualified candidates that we pre-selected for the position refused to continue with the search after they researched the company's poor reputation. As a recruiter, I'm seriously thinking of charging an up-charge at the start of the search for clients with poor Glassdoor and Yelp... its that important.
Now that I have stated the case for 'why' you need great reputation online to attract employees. Let's discuss how to build good reputation online. Beyond your own website, Candidates look to Google to find out company information, news, financials, and law suits. They look to Linkedin to learn more about your company. They read your job postings on your own websites and places like Indeed.com. They also look to sites like Glassdoor and Yelp to find out your reputation.
For too long employers have ignored Glassdoor thinking my customers do not read these reviews. Yet the research shows that your future employee candidates do look at these sites so it is vital that you clean up your Glassdoor, and manage your Company's reputation on this site. Here are some strategies.
1. First, own your Glassdoor page. Meaning, officially embrace the site and create your own page. Don't ignore Glassdoor. Have your management team write their own reviews for your company. Own your company's Glassdoor experience. It's amazing to me how many employers don't have current Glassdoor pages leaving their company reputation open to the 'negative Ned's and Nellie's' that seek to tarnish a company's reputation leaving bad reputation remarks on the site.
2. Second, respond to all negative comments with professional demeanor, clarity, and poise. Do not 'out' past employees who leave bad remarks, as this speaks poorly about you and your company. Rather, be polite, acknowledge your past employee's bitterness or issues, and suggest that this is certainly not the aim or mission of your company. Encourage the negative writer to contact you directly to discuss issues so that you can learn from the experience and mitigate open issues if possible. And for heaves sake, take the high road. It's often the unanswered complaint that stains the most. If you are kind, professional, and reinforce your company values in your responses then outsiders will see your fair and balanced nature and they will be more prone to cast-off and set-aside the negative comments.
3. Third, have your new team members all complete their Glassdoor Reviews on the first day of their hiring. Truly, the first day of your employee's new job will likely be all unicorns and roses, and why not capture this enthusiasm and good will on this day. If all new employees comment on your company the first day; likely all favorably, and only a few outgoing sour employees make their postings, you will naturally mitigate the sour remarks with overwhelming trumpets of positive remarks written up in independently produced Glassdoor Reviews of your company. Importantly, don't coach your employees on what to write, just ask them to be honest and if they are emotionally intelligent and happy to be employed, their remarks will likely help you and your company's reputation.
4. Fourth, ask Freelancers, Interns, and Consultants for reviews. This is an additional chorus of voices that can help your Glassdoor review profile.
5. Fifth, consider sending candidates a link to your Glassdoor page to give you a review of their experience. If you have been professional, courteous, helpful, transparent, and fair in your process, your candidates (many of them) will be thankful for your fair dealing and help you with a good review. In blog written by an writer from OnGig, it was suggested that asking candidates to give you a review on Glassdoor has several psychological incentives for the candidate to reply; I relate their comments here:
Candidates are more likely to give you a higher rating if you have just thanked them (Law of Reciprocity)
Candidates are more likely to give you a higher rating if they think you’re watching them (Observation Effect).
6. Sixth, periodically add updates to your Glassdoor in terms of information about your company, culture, people, mission, and things that make your company great.
7. Seventh, monitor your Company's social reputation online by using Google key word alerts and 3rd party reputation software to alert you soon after posting of negative information.