Ashwin Ramesh, CEO of Synup, a national marketing consultancy in Brooklyn, N. Y., believes companies can do a much better job at managing negative reviews on job sites. He offers the following tips:
Separate reviews for each segment of the business to identify departments
that support happy employees, those that don’t and why.
Partner with your marketing department, which already conducts online
searches for customer reviews. They can inform you of employee issues and
help develop effective responses.
Respond to every negative review from current or past employees. Your
risk for losing job candidates and employees is pretty high if you’re not
responding or being proactive.
Avoid mudslinging. Even if the employees’ comments are rude or inaccurate,
thank them for posting. Try to understand why the employee is unhappy and
offer solutions that are consistent with your company’s mission and values.
Encourage employees to post reviews about their work experiences but
never plant positive reviews. They can cause serious damage to your
company’s brand, culture and reputation.
Apologize, even if the negative review is due to something beyond your
control. Explain your position and offer to evaluate potential solutions.
Sometimes reviewers are just seeking some kind of acknowledgement or
reassurance that a business actually cares about its employees.
“Negative reviews are not really a bad thing, but how you react to those
reviews is what truly matters,” says Ramesh. “It will reveal a great deal about what
your business and culture are all about.”
communication about school changes,
says Amy Panzarella, senior vice
president of HR and community
relations at the school.
“When there’s a change in motion
… we need to make sure that we do
a stellar job of communication—in
person and email,” she says. “It might
be ad nauseam but we’re going to
[repeatedly] say it so that [employees]
are very clear as to what lies ahead.”
Broad vs. Targeted Responses
Although negative reviews are often
considered a “hot potato,” Protiviti
responds to every one of them that
calls for a response, says Redfearn.
One employee posted his opinion
about the company’s vacation benefits,
stating that they were “inferior.”
“We saw this as a chance to tell our
side of the story, present an alternate
point of view related to the facts,” he
says, explaining that all comments
not addressed by the company could
be considered factually correct by a
job site’s visitors. “We won’t let the
word ‘inferior’ stand without at least
presenting what our paid-time-off
benefits actually are.”
Panzarella at APUS has also
assigned several of her staff to monitor
all company reviews on various job
sites. They escalate all negative
reviews that involve employees or job
candidates to her and also partner with
marketing to draft responses.
However, she says, the majority of
responses tend to be broad instead
of directed toward individuals. For
example, in January, the school
extended its customer-service hours
since the majority of its 65,000 students
work full time while some live in
Although this change was
communicated to employees over
many months, she says, some
employees posted negative comments
about how the school was creating a
call-center environment. HR worked
with marketing to craft a positive
response that addressed how the
additional service hours appealed
to students, better accommodated
their needs and reflected the school’s
customer service-oriented brand.
In another review, an employee
commented on the high cost of
the school’s benefits. HR again
responded generically by stating how
generous and competitive the benefits
package was for the industry and
area. Panzarella says this approach
repositions negative comments in a
positive light by introducing facts.
“Our role in this organization … is
to really take stock in those reactions,”
she says, adding that negative reviews
are typically more about employee
perception than reality. “Instead of
taking it personally, look at [negative
reviews] as an opportunity to reiterate
how you feel about employees and the
value they add to the organization.”
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