Online Reputation Management: Can Employee Reviews be Improved (Honestly)?

The line between online and ‘real’ life is increasingly blurred, and that is nowhere more evident than online reputation. Third-party review sites exist for everything from restaurants to pet sitters, which is to say nothing of the more organic reviews that are posted on both personal and brand social media accounts.

Employee Online Reviews Management

E-word of mouth goes beyond helping consumers decide which meal subscription box they want. Increasingly, jobseekers are researching companies on Glassdoor or Indeed before applying to or accepting jobs. Glassdoor states from its own research that 70% of candidates research companies before making a career decision, and will read an average of six reviews.

If your company’s reputation as an employer is less than stellar, it’s unfortunately not a case of simply flooding it with positive reviews – and not only because reviews can be sorted by ‘most negative’ or ‘most popular.’ Making actual changes to manage your online reputation for the better involves several strategic choices, from online reputation audit to KPI setting. 

Improving Your Online Reputation

Identifying the Problem

You may think that poor employee reviews are the problem, but if anything, they’re just a symptom of actual problems your business is facing internally. Of course, people are more likely to leave a polarized review; however, you can’t chalk up every negative review to disgruntled ex-employees. In fact, if you are – that’s probably contributing to a negative culture in your office.

Scouring over each Glassdoor review to try and figure out who it was that said what isn’t recommended – in fact, objectivity might be just what’s required for your online reputation audit. Online reputation management is a service offered by many digital marketing agencies, as a complete audit and regular monitoring of your online reputation can not just help mitigate current poor reviews, but also make positive reviews start working for you.

Set Your Online Reputation KPIs

In identifying the most common issues cited in employee reviews, it can be helpful to address them openly with your current team. Not only because there’s obviously a problem you’d like to fix, but because current team members can help create a prioritized list of a few issues that you can realistically resolve first. From these key issues, KPIs can be set – with a timeline in which you hope to achieve them – and from there you can also work with your employees to figure out ways to remedy the issues. Again, if your own HR team is small, inexperienced, or non-existent, a third-party team that specialises in online reputation management may have solutions for setting objectives.

Making Real Changes

Are you only hearing about issues when an employee has left and posted a negative review? That means that they didn’t feel as though there was an opportunity to give their thoughts and opinions in a constructive manner during their employment. While your KPIs will require specific tactics to improve whatever issues your organisation is facing, be it unclear communication or poor work-life balance, there are a few general do’s and don’ts that anyone can employ as part of their online reputation management. 

Do have systems in place for constructive feedback – and that is importantly pluralised. Inviting feedback during annual reviews is of course important, but that’s fairly infrequently to be checking in. Anonymous, short surveys are a good way to gauge sentiment, ideally around major shifts to policy or staff, but also at neutral points during the year. Casual conversations – and we do mean actually casual, not cornering people at the coffee machine – can be a useful way for your HR team to catch things that may get forgotten when people are expressly asked for grievances.

Don’t force current employees to leave reviews. This should go without saying, but fake reviews are not just unethical, they very often sound false to readers. Not only that, they give your employees even more to complain about once they leave your company.

Do encourage current employees to leave reviews. People are generally only thinking about leaving reviews if they’re on their way out the door and/or have something to complain about, so reminders to leave positive ones can offset a few louder, negative voices. The suggestion can be made in a structured way, such as through HR’s internal communications or as a prompt at the end of the above-mentioned employee satisfaction surveys. It can also be something that is casually suggested whenever someone mentions something that they enjoy about working at your company, or when you’re seeking new hires – you can remind your team that if they’ve enjoyed working there, writing about their experience helps them attract new talent.

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