Employer Branding

Did you realise that the employees of your organisation are writing up reviews about their experience online? Some are happy, others not so much.

What can you do to embrace this transparency and how can you use these reviews as constructive feedback? To get the inside scoop, I’ve had a chat with Diarmuid Russell, Head of International at Glassdoor, the international workplace review website. You can listen to the interview on iTunes, SoundCloud or keep reading for a summary of our conversation.

What challenges can Glassdoor help employers tackle?

The first one is that sometimes the company might not be known by the people they’re trying to hire. They’re trying to make a name for themselves, and get known as an employer of choice, but nobody has really heard of them. And so a site like Glassdoor can rapidly give people a sense as to what this company is like and showcase them as a really great employer. A site like Glassdoor can also help people understand changes to a company, and what’s going on there right now, and then use that to make a better decision. There’s a really good example of this actually, which is HomeServe.They had a bit of a mis-selling scandal a few years ago, and it was all over the newspapers, and it created a little bit of reputation for them. Since then, the whole senior management has changed, they’ve worked really hard to turn the company around, to build up a new culture, and to make it a great place to work. And that shows through in their reviews on Glassdoor. They’ve got a 4.6 rating, and their CEO was fourth highest rated CEO in the UK on our list last year. And so it really helps companies like that get their message across that things have changed.

Do people apply for jobs on Glassdoor?

Absolutely. Basically what we find is that people who come to Glassdoor are people who want to make better decisions about where they go and work. So they could come at any point in the entire recruitment process, but they’re coming here to do research. They might be coming to learn about the culture, they might be coming to learn about interview process and prep for the interview, but what it means is that candidates who come through a site like Glassdoor, or another review site, they’ve opted into you as a potential employer.

A bad employer will have already have a bad reputation. Doesn’t a site like Glassdoor just amplify their problems?

Well, I think the important thing to think about is the mindset that people have in today’s day and age. So you’re absolutely right that review sites tend to be an amplification for your employer brand. But I think, in today’s day and age, people really turn to reviews on the Internet to help them make decisions.

If you think about choosing a restaurant, or choosing a holiday, or buying a television, almost nobody will do that nowadays without going and checking it out on TripAdvisor, or on a reviews website for the TV to make sure they’re making a good decision. They want the reassurance of what other people have said. And they always trust those third-party voices more than their own experience. And so I think we really help to reinforce that. Also a company might have a great reputation, but looking underneath that, what are the key things that make that up?

How can you ensure that employee reviews on Glassdoor are genuine?

The integrity of data on a review website is really, really important. And so we have a multi-tier review process that we take very seriously. It involves both technology and a human touch. So when a review comes in, it’s always moderated by technology to make sure that it meets our terms of use, and terms of service, and guidelines. And if there’s any question marks about that, it goes through to a round of review by our team of human moderators who look at the content and determine if it meets our guidelines. It’s interesting – people might not realise this, but we actually reject about 5 to 10% of all the content that’s submitted to Glassdoor so it never makes it onto the website.

How can companies embrace transparency and encourage employee reviews?

I think the first thing I would say is if you’re a company and you haven’t claimed your Glassdoor profile, you should absolutely go out and do that. We have a simple free employer account. It’s free (the clue is in the name) and what it does is it allows you to get involved in the conversation. In terms of responding to reviews, I’d say, welcome all the feedback that you get, whether it’s positive or negative. Someone told me at a conference last year, the expression they used was that feedback is a gift, employees just taking the time to tell you how they feel about working at your company. And so you should acknowledge that and thank them for that, whether it’s good or it’s a bad, in a way that is respectful and makes sense. It’s great to address specific comments. Also, respond quickly, it’s pretty obvious.  And then, like L’Oréal are doing, request more reviews. I think when people do that, it really shows engagement. In fact, we’ve got a thing called “Engaged Employer,” which is a badge on the site. And that says, “This person cares about transparency. They’re engaged in the Glassdoor community, they’re actively responding to reviews.”

What’s the number one mistake that you see employers doing?

I think the number one mistake is basically being defensive, and essentially not acknowledging that the feedback is valid, and basically leaving a response to a review that says, “You’re just wrong. It’s not like that,” because it comes across as very defensive and very negative, whereas there are better ways to respond to reviews that might not be positive, which is to acknowledge that maybe not everything’s perfect, that you’re working to change things, and to really then emphasise some of the things that are good about the employer.

How do you calculate the ROI for companies using Glassdoor?

I think ROI is important, and it’s important also to recognise the importance of this subject. So amongst millennials, for example, 76% of people say culture and fit is really important when choosing employer, and that’s more than career potential, it’s more than compensation. The other thing that I think is important about employer branding, in general, and at Glassdoor we certainly think we contribute to this, is it basically makes all of your other channels you’re advertising in more effective. If you’ve got a strong employer brand, that people say good things about you, that makes people want to go work there, then when they see an ad for you in whatever channel or medium that might be, they’re going to be more inclined to come and work for you.

People who have engaged with us and bought our solutions are reporting that they see a 30% lower cost-per-hire on average than on other channels. And the main reason for that is that candidates come to Glassdoor, they do their research, and they effectively proactively screen themselves in or out of whether or not they want to work with you.

What’s the next big thing in the employer transparency space?

I’ll talk about one thing that we just started doing that I think is going to be a big trend in general, which is integrating the job search in user-generated content. We recently launched a feature which we call “Job View,” which basically gives you, as you scroll through the jobs, you see the job description. And alongside the job description, you see all of the key information that’s coming from their Glassdoor review, their star rating, a review snippet, some information about the interview process. And it’s putting everything right there at the hands of the jobseeker, which is making it even easier for them to make decisions quickly about which jobs to apply for and which jobs not to.

I think more broadly, there’s a lot of effort to try to understand what’s going on socially. And I think some of these sentiment analysis tools are quite interesting. It’s more like a daily pulse check or weekly pulse check of employee sentiments, which isn’t something that Glassdoor offers right now. I think that’s an interesting development in terms of, “How are my people feeling on a week-to-week basis, or a month-to-month basis? And how can I push that down to the team level?” Because it just gives managers a real time pulse check on how things are going.

Follow Diarmuid on Twitter @diarus.

Image: Shutterstock


About Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO at Link Humans, an employer branding agency.

Get weekly recruiting and career tips direct to your inbox!

Load Comments