We all prefer it when people say nice things about us. Some of us are also able to handle the occasional bit of criticism with a smile, but deep down, it still stings. That’s because it conflicts with our self-image. This effect can extend to the organizational level as well. Negative Glassdoor reviews are one of the most common ways for a business to suffer criticism that may seem unfair.
Best Ways to Respond to Negative Reviews
Should you, in fact, respond to negative Glassdoor reviews?
Yes, you should. Glassdoor itself makes this clear:
Respond to Them. We believe you have a right to tell your side of the story. […] We recommend that you reply to all of the reviews, both positive and negative. We’ve learned that our users have a more favorable impression of employers who take the time to respond to reviews on Glassdoor in a calm and thoughtful way. You should also know that the Employer Response is the only comment we publish on any review – so we let you have the last word.https://help.glassdoor.com/article/I-m-an-employer-What-can-I-do-about-negative-reviews-on-Glassdoor/en_US/
62% of job seekers say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review, according to a Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey.https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/responding-to-negative-glassdoor-reviews-faqs-2/
Keep in mind that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, though.
The wrong way is easy to imagine. You don’t ever want to get into a virtual shouting match. Never type in all caps, and don’t make false accusations. Do all you can to avoid making the problem worse, because that will actually confirm the accusations in the minds of every prospective employee who reads them.
So, how should you go about it the right way?
Fact check what the employee said
Not all negative reviews tell the whole story. Just like you, the person who left the negative review wants the world to see them in the best light possible.
That means they won’t always be completely forthcoming about the situation they’re describing, especially if it turns out that they caused a negative outcome.
That’s where you have the power to clarify the situation.
If you can tell by the employee’s story what happened, you can offer additional details that would explain why things turned out the way they did.
This requires that you do a bit of research beforehand, but it’s worthwhile, because you do get the last word. It’s important to make that word count.
Remember that it’s not about the employee, though. It’s about the situation. Don’t turn around and just try to make them look bad. Focus on explaining your position.
Remember that negative reviews are an opportunity
Sometimes, perhaps more often than we’d like to admit, negative reviews have a basis in truth. You can’t please everybody, but you can try to constantly improve based on useful feedback like negative Glassdoor reviews.
It’s not that you have to take the review at face value, especially if, as we’ve already noted, there’s more to the story.
What you should definitely consider though, is that negative reviews can act as warning signals that your organizational culture may need a review in a certain area. If Glassdoor was the only place they felt safe talking about a problem, that in itself is an even bigger problem!
A bad review is more than just a disgruntled employee blowing off steam. They may have a point, and you may be able to make your workplace better because of it.
Respond quickly, clearly, and honestly
Don’t let a sore wound fester. Unaddressed complaints send the message that you don’t care about the issue. That may not be true, because of course you’re busy, and you can’t do everything. But this is really important.
The whole idea behind Glassdoor is the concept of transparency. It’s not okay for bad working conditions to be kept secret anymore. The type of employer who leaves bad conditions unchanged deserves to be outed and avoided, and perhaps even sanctioned.
You are not that kind of boss.
If you believe in taking ownership of your work, then it’ll be important to you to own up to mistakes quickly and sincerely. Don’t muddy the waters!
Don’t let emotions get the best of you
We touched on this point earlier, but it bears more examination. Don’t raise your voice, so to speak, and don’t take it personally. There will always be some unhappy employees, unfortunately. And it’s not just you who has to work with them. Every company has them.
In fact, we’re all imperfect, and that’s why there are complaints in the first place. When we approach problems calmly, it’s easier to see what the path forward is.
Losing your cool, though, will make it clear to others that the path forward is not by your side, and will indeed validate the complaints.
Do all you can to earn positive reviews!
There’s a lot you can do to address negative complaints, but keep in mind that constant damage control isn’t the ideal.
If you’re dealing with a lot of unfair criticism that doesn’t reflect the reality of your workplace, you need to enlist the help of the people who do enjoy what you provide them in exchange for giving you their time and talents.
People don’t always like to make a lot of noise about what they’re happy about, but that is exactly what you need most from your employees. The question is how to get them to take the extra time to do something so helpful.
Fortunately, we’ve got an app for that.