The Glassdoor survival guide

Download our Glassdoor Survival Guide for insight on what you can control on Glassdoor.

In the brave new world of crowd-sourced reviews, Glassdoor.com is the first stop for candidates who want to learn more about your company.  

In fact, Glassdoor has more than 48 million users and 32 million published reviews—and candidates learn more from this site than they do from your own materials or website. Consider this: When you want to know if a hotel is good, do you check the company website or do you consult the reviews on TripAdvisor? Candidates are looking for an unbiased source of information, and it’s at their fingertips on Glassdoor.

Glassdoor ranks as the #2 site for job searches in the U.S. But your rating there isn’t just about attracting the best candidates. The Journal of Corporate Finance found that boosting employee satisfaction by even one Glassdoor point increases a company’s market value by 7.9%

Because it’s a direct reflection of anonymous candidate and employee opinions, Glassdoor is an excellent place to start a health check for your employer brand—if you’re brave enough to take a hard look at yourself through the eyes of current and former employees, that is! Reviews provide invaluable insights for improving your brand, your culture, and your candidate experience.. 

Check out this seven-step roadmap for how you can use Glassdoor to measure and manage your employer brand, boost your reputation, and attract better quality job candidates. 

1. Build an employer brand strategy.

What is an employer brand? Simply put, it’s how the world perceives your company as a place to work. And, unfortunately, you don’t own it. It represents how employees talk about you when outside the workplace and how candidates think of your organization.  

While Glassdoor is only part of an employer brand strategy, it’s a great place to start when looking to measure and improve your employer brand.

Everything you do to drive employee engagement, ensure employee fit, and create a great place to work influences your employer brand. That means the senior leadership team and HR need to have a solid employer brand strategy—but everyone in the company must invest and contribute to that strategy, so be sure you communicate yours widely to get buy-in. 

Here are a few things you should be considering for your employer brand strategy:

  • Define your audiences: current employees, future employees, customers, investors, etc.
  • Listen to your employees and conduct a survey to benchmark your brand.
  • Align your brand with organizational needs, goals, and values.
  • Define relevant key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Decide how you will measure those KPIs, and how often—then do it!

2. Measure and manage your culture.

Culture can be a fairly squishy concept that relies on anecdotes and gut feelings, so it’s important to decide how you’ll measure your culture. 

Glassdoor can serve as a key measurement tool, as it’s one way of getting quantifiable feedback on your company and culture. Your employer profile will include an overall company rating (out of five stars), a percentage rating of how likely employees are to recommend the company to a friend, and a percentage rating of employees who approve of the CEO. 

Other culture management tools include pulse surveys, employee Net Promoter Scores, exit interviews, recognition tools, and third-party “best place to work” surveys. In general, the more anonymously employees can provide feedback, the better. If you’re using anonymous pulse or employee surveys, be sure to include a chance for open feedback.  

With this data in hand, how do you manage it?  Read the comments carefully on Glassdoor—they can give you actionable clues about what might be broken in your culture. Just keep in mind that they’re often filtered through the lens of unhappy employees, either past or present.

The important thing about gathering employee feedback—something that’s often missed—is you need to promptly act on the feedback given. Nothing frustrates employees faster than being asked for feedback only to have it ignored.

Another key tip for managing your culture is to hire people who mirror your cultural values and can successfully execute your business strategy. (See #4 for more on how to hire employees with the right behavioral traits.) 

3. Build your brand on Glassdoor. 

Once you’ve defined your strategy and how you’ll measure success, you’re ready to build up your Glassdoor profile. 

Did you know that of the 700,000 companies that have been reviewed on Glassdoor, only 36,000 companies have created a company page? This represents a huge miss for employers. Your first task, then, is to brand or update your profile, optimizing it for the people you want to attract to your company.  

We recommend you become a client of Glassdoor and take full advantage of the opportunity to add extras to your page—including video, a full profile of your company, benefits, and culture, and the ability to remove competitor ads from your profile. Only 6,200 of the 36,000 companies mentioned above are Glassdoor clients, so this is an opportunity to get a leg up on the competition.

Once your profile is complete and you’ve looked through your existing reviews for improvement opportunities, be sure to regularly monitor activity and stay up to date on what happens there. Research shows that 79% of Glassdoor users are more likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (i.e., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment, etc.).

Finally, we suggest that you assign one person to review and update Glassdoor. This will ensure that regular maintenance is happening.

4. Find the right employees.

The right Glassdoor profile, combined with well-written job ads, can be a powerful way to attract ideal candidates.  

When crafting your profile, be true to your culture. If your organization is fast-paced and makes frequent pivots, don’t lead candidates to believe otherwise. Your employer brand and online profile should be an accurate representation of your company culture, allowing you to attract candidates who share the same values and would be more likely to thrive in that work environment.

You’ll notice that PI has a 4.9 rating on Glassdoor (we’re pretty proud of that!). But if you look at the comments, you’ll notice that many reviewers left comments like “organization is very fast-paced and frequently pivots” in the cons section. We’re very upfront about this aspect of our culture, so we don’t mind seeing those comments, as we know they accurately represent how we function as a company. It wouldn’t serve our business or our employees if we pretended that we weren’t in hypergrowth mode!

5. Prepare for negative feedback.

Regardless of how great your company is, you will get negative reviews. The good news is: Most Glassdoor users read at least seven reviews before forming an opinion of a company, so one review won’t ruin your chances with good candidates. 

As Glassdoor says: “When a scathing review is left, 1) Most people discount that type of review, 2) The people who you want to work for you are not the ones that will give credence to that type of review, and 3) Your employer response is an opportunity to talk directly to your future employees and other stakeholders.” 

We suggest responding to poor reviews. Reply promptly, and don’t get defensive. A response to a review is a chance for you to show readers who you really are, and to reply thoughtfully. Thank the reviewer for their feedback, apologize for the poor experience, and then address any specific comments and explain— in a constructive way—how the problems are being addressed. 

Don’t be tempted to find out who wrote a bad review. Acknowledge the feedback and consider it a learning opportunity—even if that just means improving the hiring process to avoid future bad fits. Try to understand where the feedback came from, and ask yourselves the hard questions about whether the bad review might be valid and how to fix it. That said, do flag incorrect or abusive reviews—particularly salaries that may be misleading to future candidates.

6. Accentuate the positive.

Positive reviews deserve responses, too. You should also encourage your happy employees to post reviews online. (Though keep in mind that mandating a review or offering any sort of incentive is a violation of Glassdoor’s terms of service.)

To avoid a glut of positive reviews all at once—which can look suspicious—we recommend you make the suggestion as part of your 90-day check-in cycle. Take the time during 30- and 60-day check-ins to discover and address issues that employees may be encountering. By the time you reach 90 days, your employee should be hitting their stride, and you should have proven your willingness to deal with any problems and act on their feedback, making this an ideal time to request a review. 

Another way to create an ongoing cadence of reviews is to suggest employees complete one in follow up to an engagement survey. 

Additionally, consider sharing great reviews with your company as they come along. Express your appreciation for them, give positive reinforcement, and encourage others to post their reviews on Glassdoor.

7. Grow your brand with Glassdoor.

Once you have your Glassdoor brand where you want it, you can actually lead with it! It’s a great way to validate the experience of working with your company. We suggest the following ways to include Glassdoor as part of your brand outreach:

  • Post your good Glassdoor rating on your careers page, along with a link.
  • Use your Glassdoor rating on your job postings with an embedded link that will take them directly to your reviews.
  • Post your Glassdoor rating and link on your social media pages, and share quotes from glowing reviews as part of your social media marketing. 
  • Enter your company for Glassdoor and other best places to work awards. 

One side note on culture awards: They may seem frivolous, but they do matter—both to candidates and your employees. They’re also a good way to track your progress as a company and elevate your employer brand.

It’s important to manage Glassdoor, but don’t make the mistake of thinking of it as just another social channel to be manipulated.  The health of this channel is a direct reflection of the health of your culture, so you should view it as a bellwether. If reviews indicate room for improvement, pay attention and act accordingly.

Your Glassdoor profile and your employer brand will highlight all your best qualities, but it will also magnify any flaws in your hiring process. Every time someone has a poor candidate experience, you can expect your brand to take a hit.  

However, setting great expectations, hiring rigorously, and managing culture carefully will result in current and former employees who are happy to pay it forward, and invite more of the right people into your fold.

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