Online Reviews

These days, online reviews are a natural part of our decision-making process. Whatever we do, we frequently go online to find out what other people are saying before committing to a decision. This is especially true for my wife and me as we prepare for the impending arrival of our first child. With so much technology on the market today, searching for a smart home nursery camera has turned me into a tech-geek-dad-to-be.

When reading reviews, I wanted to learn what parents loved about the camera, but I also wanted to see what they didn’t like and if it was something I could either live without or didn’t care about. You’ll be glad to know the baby’s room is now safely guarded and notifies me every time there’s a passing car.

For some reason, employers (and video camera manufacturers) strive for the elusive five-star rating. But as experienced shoppers, we understand that no company or role is perfect. We all have areas where we can improve — and that’s what makes us vulnerable and trustworthy. When you see a company without a single negative review or rating, would you believe that it’s just too good to be true? You’re not alone.

Let’s take a look at what online reviews are telling you about your company, what you can learn from them and how you can achieve a more authentic employer brand.

Does your company rating accurately reflect your company?

Perfect may not be possible, but we all want to aspire to be the best workplace possible. So how do you manage your reputation and strive for the authentic positive reviews that will push the needle forward for your company?

First, look where your reviews are coming from. Are you only getting responses from past employees who left the company or candidates who weren’t offered a job?

Most company reviews either fall into the “rant” category or the “probably written by HR” category. Many times, people provide feedback after having a less-than-ideal experience and take to the internet to vent their frustrations. This is normal. We’re all human.

However, while you can get ahead of negative reviews by proactively asking new or current employees (those employees in the happy medium category) to share their experiences, you do not want to appear like you’re requesting favorable reviews. When you ask for honest feedback, you can integrate it organically into your new employee onboarding or at natural touch points in their timeline at your company — think anniversaries, performance reviews, bonuses or promotions.

This helps ensure your reviews highlight all the good things that are happening at your company every day, along with all of your areas of opportunity.

How can you put a positive spin on a negative review?

Ping! You get that notification email, and it’s a bad review — now what? My first piece of advice is not to worry too much; we all have areas that need improvement. Even the companies with the highest ratings have a few negative reviews. The bigger question becomes: what are you going to do about it?

A recent survey shows that over 70% of job seekers were willing to change their minds if employers responded to a negative review. Every review offers an opportunity to gain feedback about your company. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the review, use the feedback constructively to highlight the positive aspects of your business. Responding to the review not only shows that you’re reading what people are saying about your company but highlights that you’re constantly listening and improving whenever possible.

Here are some solutions for these hard-to-have conversations:

Feedback:Great management, but I’m way underpaid for the work I’m doing.
Response:Hi, we appreciate you sharing your perspective. We’re always working to ensure our team members receive competitive pay and benefits. In fact, we’re constantly performing competitive analyses to help us evaluate our pay levels in each market globally. If you have questions or feedback about your pay, we encourage you to speak with your manager or confidentially message HR directly. Thank you.

Feedback:I’m worried about my opportunity for advancement. It’s unclear how to be promoted or advance on this team.
Response:Hello and thanks for your feedback. We’re sorry to hear that your experience has not been reflective of the culture of learning that we strive to provide. We focus on growth and development for all of our team members, regardless of background or experience. We also believe that every team member has talent and growth potential, and we support them in achieving their best selves. We encourage you to meet with your HR representative confidentially to address your concerns and talk about the path forward.

See what I did there? Acknowledge. Validate. Empathize. Call to action.

How can you use reviews to influence change in your company?

When was the last time you read reviews of your company? What decisions did you make after reading them? Third-party sites like Indeed Company Pages offer a platform where you can show employees that you’re listening. This not only provides opportunities for brand storytelling and fosters engagement with your audience (aka potential hires), but it offers constructive feedback that can inform change within your company.

At Indeed, my team meets regularly with our HR leadership to read our reviews. It’s a collaborative approach where we read the insights from employees, look for patterns and discuss what changes can be made at the organizational level to address their concerns.

Great progress has been made from the feedback we’ve received and cross-referenced with regular internal employee surveys. For example, we noticed patterns in our reviews where employee development was a common theme. Our internal employee development resources were updated to offer different career-planning tool kits to help guide career conversations with managers, track career growth and explore future opportunities.

Your company reviews create a genuine brand experience for potential candidates. Be sure to read your reviews carefully, listen to what employees are saying, respond to their successes and concerns and use them as a guide to inform organizational change.

As beneficial as reviews are for candidates looking for their next job, they’re equally as valuable in teaching you how things are working within your company. So don’t wait for your next employee survey to get the feedback you’re looking for — jump into your reviews, respond and share that critical intel with your leaders.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my baby camera just reminded me that it’s garbage pickup day, and I think I can still make it.

Bryan Chaney

Bryan Chaney is a global talent sourcing and attraction strategist. He’s worked at IBM and Twilio and currently leads employment brand for corporate recruitment at Indeed. Bryan has worked in recruitment, technology, and marketing, providing him insights into the marketing of hiring, the importance of technology and the buying process that candidates make when applying for jobs. Bryan is a co-founder of the Talent Brand Alliance and can be found on Indeed Resume and Twitter.