In the quest to learn from bad reviews, don’t forget to learn from the positive ones. Affirmative or unexpected positive reviews can be flattering, but more importantly, they may allow the organization to learn about its strengths and about the aspects of employment brand that has been valued by employees. Again, communicate this on your careers site.
Good and bad reviews are indicative of issues needing attention
While researching how companies manage publicly available information that might affect their image as a great place to work, I was in for a surprise. My research led me to reports by former employees complaining about their well-written negative reviews being taken off Glassdoor. Some even reported seeing an influx of positive reviews and ratings within a short period of time which immediately increased the overall rating. My curiosity intensified, as I dug a little further I learned about companies in the business of so called “reputation management”. They claim they can help find loopholes on these social media sites and can remove or minimize the impact of potentially damaging information'. I also read about a case where a large retailer encouraged its employees to share positive stories about the organization on Glassdoor. This apparently backfired and is speculated to have instead led to a flooding of negative stories.
As Industrial-Organizational psychologists we are concerned both with the effectiveness of practices organizations pursue and their effects on employees. Our analysis shows organizations stand to lose more than gain by manipulating their online ratings. Potential job candidates are best served when they have honest and truthful information about the job and the company before they accept a job offer. This ensures that candidates accept offers based on fit, which ultimately contributes to greater engagement, higher retention, and better financial outcomes for the organization. Based on this perspective, it is hard to imagine why organizations might pursue any of the practices described above. To help organizations manage their employer brands here are some evidence-based recommendations.
Be aware that some job candidates may inquire about the negative reviews during the hiring process. Therefore, be ready to honestly address questions and explain how the company is managing the issue. In fact, it is a good practice to allow job candidates an opportunity to ask hiring managers 'clarifying' questions. Studies show that such practices improve perceptions of trustworthiness.
Invest in Evidence-based Integrated Talent Management Practices
Use employer profiles to manage the organization’s online presence
In conclusion, learning from current reviews, being authentic, investing in high-impact evidence-based practices, and using social media to engage employees, is more likely to create and sustain an excellent employer brand than any other short-term fixes that some companies are apparently resorting to.
Building a high-performing organization and a great employer brand is an ongoing process and takes time. However, it is something that organizations need to embrace to realize great benefits.
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- Cascio, W. F. (2010). Managing human resources: Productivity, quality of work life, profits (8th ed.). Burr Ridge, IL: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.
- Huselid, M. A. (1995). The impact of human resource management practices on turnover, productivity, and corporate financial performance. Academy of Management Journal, 38, 635-672.
- Takeuchi, R., Lepak, D.P., Wang, H., & Takeuchi, K. (2007). An Empirical examination of the mechanisms mediation between high-performance work systems and the performance of Japanese organizations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(4), 1069-1083.