Effectively & Ethically Managing Glassdoor Ratings

Peter Weddle

From the Blog of Shaker Recruitment Marketing

Everyone wants to be as informed as possible before making a decision — a decision of any scale, for that matter. From pizza to careers, consumers and candidates are doing their research before committing. According to Glassdoor, jobseekers use an average of 18 sources before applying to a job. This means candidates are no longer in the dark during their job search. They are more informed than ever and are able to make judgments about an organization, or even decide against applying, before reading the job description. So, what does that mean for employers? Most importantly, that every one of these 18 touchpoints should depict a consistent, accurate, and (hopefully, if you’re the employer) positive overview of your organization.

When we think about what these touchpoints might be, needless to say, it differs by candidate. However, when we look at the scope of possible digital and social media sources, one platform often sticks out for the candidate: Glassdoor. This might be due to Glassdoor’s sole purpose, which is to allow employees (current and previous) to publicly and anonymously share what it’s really like to work at an organization. On this review-based platform, control is taken away from the organization and is in the hands of employees. It’s important to understand that these reviews are having an impact on each candidate’s decision-making process.

It’s unrealistic to expect that every employee at an organization has a positive experience, so I’m going to focus on negative reviews. As a resource for employees to share honest feedback, Glassdoor is often where employees go to air their grievances. Each negative review impacts an organization’s overall rating, so the more bad reviews, the worse the organization’s rating gets. This can be tough to combat, but there are ways to handle it effectively.

You may have seen headlines recently outing organizations for “rigging” their Glassdoor pages — literally paying or incentivizing their employees to leave 5-star, positive reviews. Don’t do this!

1. It violates Glassdoor’s conduct policies.
2. News media is paying attention. Being featured in major national news publications for cheating on Glassdoor is not a good look for an organization, and it puts their careers in a negative light.
3. You’ll get called out for it in reviews. We’ve seen this happen, and it’s not pretty.

It also makes candidates wonder what they’re trying to hide. So, can you improve ratings honestly and morally? Absolutely, but let’s keep it classy.

Based on Glassdoor’s algorithm, the more recent posts are weighed more heavily on the overall rating, so you want a regular cadence of reviews, especially if there are management changes or policy adjustments. Merely asking employees for reviews, or reminding them that you want to receive feedback on a review site isn’t unethical. It’s requesting and incentivizing for positive reviews that is the problem.

So, when is the best time to ask your employees for a review? Milestones are a great starting point. New hires, promotions, project launches, and anniversaries are all ideal times to solicit reviews, especially since these are moments when your employees are likely reflecting on the growth, opportunities, and positive experiences they’ve had with your company. Remind your employees that you want their authentic, engaged feedback and that their opinion will be of value to future candidates.

And, it’s important to remember that Glassdoor is not just a tool for candidates, but also for organizations. The honest, anonymous feedback you can glean from their Glassdoor reviews makes it easier than ever to identify where employees are really happy, and where they think there are pain points that require attention. The focus should be addressing these areas of improvement — not planting positive reviews. The right way to improve your ratings is more difficult and involves listening to the feedback you’re receiving and making meaningful changes.

At Shaker, we’re big proponents of being active participants within review sites. It shows that you’re listening and that you care about the feedback and your team’s experience. According to Glassdoor, 59% of members agree that their perception of a company improves after seeing a company respond.

If you address the problems, employees will see that. Positive reviews will presumably increase, and your Glassdoor rating should improve. Making changes, whether big or small, can take time, and it’s not realistic for organizations to think they can address every grievance. However, consistent monitoring of new reviews will help identify the most critical updates that need to be made, and help the organization prioritize their course of action.

We do this every day with our clients and have seen CEO ratings improve and overall ratings increase. Examine using AI technology to identify the themes of the feedback, craft key messages, monitor the feedback, and engage. It’s not about stacking the deck or cheating the system — it’s about embracing the power of sites like Glassdoor and purposefully joining the conversation.

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