How should PRs use Glassdoor?

If you haven’t seen and you work in PR, then you might want to take a look at the site. The chances are, your employer or clients may well be on there and since you are on the front line of managing your company or clients’ reputations, you should keep a close eye on the community and how it is developing.

Glassdoor launched in 2008 in the US and the UK site went live in 2013. There are now more than 315,000 companies on the site and that number is growing on an almost daily basis. Glassdoor’s mission is to help people everywhere find jobs and companies they love. We do that by providing an inside look at employers based on anonymous reviews posted by current and former employees (think ‘TripAdvisor' for jobs).

We also provide a way for candidates to share reports on what the recruiting and interview process is like, including posting what interview questions they were asked and how difficult the process was. We allow employees to anonymously share their salaries, which we aggregate as averages so candidates can benchmark their salaries based on job title or role across companies and industries.

This transparency in the workplace is designed to help people make more informed decisions about where they work. We figure that the more knowledge the better when making such a significant choice about jobs and careers. With transparency, however, come certain opportunities and risks for an employer and its PR team.

As we all know, brands have evolved into what people say or think about them, with social media revolutionizing the customer service and communications industries. However, the term “people” has primarily become synonymous with “customers” or “clients.”

The advent of Glassdoor gives a greater voice to employees and presents new challenges and opportunities for managing an employer brand. Employees are now more vocal than ever before and have become creators of content on a significant scale. Which means that brands are not just what customers say about them, they are what employees say about them too.

The first thing PR professionals should do is see if their employers or clients are listed on the site and take a look at the reviews. High scores and satisfied employees are a gold mine for companies who want to attract top talent, and demonstrate to customers, partners and other key stakeholders that a company is a good place to work. For example, one look at Ketchum’s Glassdoor profile shows that people who work there are pretty happy, and Richard Edelman came out third overall in America’s top rated CEOs.

The advantages of an engaged workforce are obvious and don’t need to be labored here. If your clients have high scores and good ratings, then you should consider how you can leverage that. Glassdoor clients use all sorts of tactics, from posting their ratings on their website through to putting badges on employee uniforms and stickers in their windows.

If the company’s scores and reviews are less than flattering, then this poses more of a challenge. An easy way to engage with the Glassdoor community is to sign up for a Free Employer Account and respond to reviews (both good and bad).

Whether it is PR, Brand, Comms or HR who take the lead, here are some tips:

1. Take action NOW - There’s no time like the present. If you see a new review, don’t wait. A swift response will show sincerity and reflect how important employee satisfaction is to you and your company.

2. Be professional. You might not agree with more critical points of a review. And that’s ok! But take any emotional weight out of your response. This way, you’ll avoid seeming defensive and instead seem credible. Employee reviews are considered opinion, so take it as such, and respond with your own opinion in a kind and genuine way.

3. Set the record straight. Things change. Sometimes, a review describes a past working experience which no longer applies. Use this opportunity to update the audience.

4. Agree to disagree, and then agree. You won’t always see eye to eye with reviewers, but you can still find common ground. Make sure to acknowledge any helpful takeaways even when it’s the most difficult.

5. Say “thanks.” Always include a “thank you” within your response. Even for reviews with which you might disagree, this shows that you value employee feedback, no matter what.

Companies that value feedback and are committed to employee satisfaction are going to be the winners here.

Finally, I leave you with an example of a company that is taking action on its Glassdoor ratings and reviews in a very positive and constructive way. Despite the mixed comments posted by employees in the past, Gorkana has decided to tackle the problems rather than bury its head in the sand. This approach is to be applauded and is exactly the kind of response that demonstrates commitment to employee satisfaction.

Joe Wiggins, Senior PR Manager, Glassdoor

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